The brainchild of former Taiwan Touch player James Chang evolved to the next level in Taipei yesterday, while premier side the Taipei Hulks returned to their winning ways.
Last year saw the first Touch Threes tournament, pitting teams of just three players against each other. At the Bailing rugby fields in Shilin District this year, it was Fast Four, which allowed a bit more creative play.
The Hulks showed no mercy, taking the men’s and mixed divisions without dropping a game.
Photo: Grant Dexter, Taipei Times
Their mixed side romped through the preliminary rounds, notching 22 touchdowns and conceding only three. They faced Ya-Hui’s Heroes in the final and won 6-2.
The men’s team also faced little threat in any of their games, winning all of their games by five points.
They took out the Coconut Boyz 8-3 in the final.
The closest game of the day in the men’s draw saw Ya-Hui’s Heroes overcome a two-point deficit, scoring with the last play to take a 6-5 win over Galaxy Giesen.
It was a tough day out for all three Galaxy sides on display — Giesen won their opener against the Silver Sausages, but folded badly against the Hulks before the close loss put them out of contention.
In the mixed draw, Galaxy Simuolive picked up a win against fellow Galaxians, M&T Creative Marketing, but also suffered a last-gasp loss to Ya-Hui’s Heroes, going down 4-3.
The event was the last before Taipei Touch Association treasurer Trent Prestegar heads to China to take up a new job after nine years in Taiwan.
Outside of work, he said it was a great opportunity for him to advance his participation in the game — organizing events, and advancing his skills as a referee and player — as China’s national development squad is based in the city and Rachel Grantham, who works for the Asia Coaching Commission for world governing body Federation of International Touch, is just two hours away in Hong Kong.
“It’s been great in Taiwan learning the game,” Prestegar said, adding that he had never played before moving to Taipei three years ago. “There have been great opportunities, getting referee’s qualifications, and coaching and playing.”
Prestegar was sure it would not be long before he would be seeing the Taipei teams again.
“Everybody says: ‘Goodbye,’ but it’s more like: ‘See you later,’” he said, laying out the challenge that he might return with a team behind him, perhaps to challenge the “Hulk smash.”
DJOKOVIC’S SHADOW: Djokovic landed in Dubai after his deportation, while Serbia’s president said that Australia had ‘harassed’ and ‘humiliated’ the world No. 1 player Rafael Nadal yesterday opened his Australian Open campaign in storming style, as the first Grand Slam of the year finally began after a chaotic buildup dominated by the visa saga engulfing world No. 1 Novak Djokovic. Defending women’s champion Naomi Osaka breezed into the second round, as did world No. 1 Ashleigh Barty, but teenager Coco Gauff was an early big name casualty. The American 17-year-old was dumped out in straight sets by China’s Wang Qiang, who is ranked outside the top 100. The only Australian Open champion in the men’s draw after nine-time winner Djokovic’s sensational deportation, Nadal started his quest
The NBA has once again found itself in a China-linked controversy after serial dealmaker Chamath Palihapitiya, a part owner of the Golden State Warriors, dismissed concerns over human rights abuses facing the Uighur minority in China. “Nobody cares about what’s happening to the Uighurs, OK?” the Sri Lankan-born investor said during an episode of the All-In podcast on Saturday, reacting to a comment from cohost Jason Calacanis about the administration of US President Joe Biden’s “very strong” stance on the issue. “I’m telling you a very hard, ugly truth, OK? Of all the things that I care about, yes, it is below
The MLB’s Pittsburgh Pirates are “expected to sign” right-handed Taiwanese pitcher Chang Hung-leng for a US$500,000 signing bonus, MLB.com reported on Saturday. Twenty-year-old Chang, who graduated from Kaohsiung Municipal Sanmin Senior High School in 2020, has been a focus of local and international talent scouts because his fastballs can reach up to 151kph. After graduating high school, the 1.9m tall Chang joined a baseball training program at Asia University in Taichung, and turned out for the semi-professional Taiwan Power baseball team. If the deal closes, he would become the third active Taiwanese player in the Pirates system, joining pitcher Chen Po-yu and infielder
Former basketball star Yao Ming yesterday invited staunch Beijing critic Enes Kanter Freedom to visit China after the Boston Celtics player urged athletes to boycott the Winter Olympics in the capital. Kanter has emerged as one of China’s most vocal critics in the sporting world, a rare athlete willing to forgo lucrative endorsements to speak on issues such as Beijing’s treatment of its Uighur and Tibetan minorities. He has repeatedly spoken out on social media and been a guest on Western news shows as the Olympics nears. In recent interviews he has accused China of using “money to buy silence” and called on