Sun, Jul 13, 2003 - Page 2 News List

Diplomats level playing field with bats and balls

By Monique Chu  /  STAFF REPORTER

Minister of Foreign Affairs Eugene Chien yesterday hits the ball during a softball game between his ministry's team and the ``Lao Wa'' (foreigners) team -- formed from the envoys of Taiwan's allies.

PHOTO: LIAO CHENG-HUEI, TAIPEI TIMES

Under the scorching sun, Minister of Foreign Affairs Eugene Chien (簡又新) yesterday led the ministry's softball team onto a playing field on the outskirts of Taipei to beat a team of multinational diplomats by 20-12.

"We did have a good time. We are too old, but it's fun," said Nicaraguan Ambassador Luis Wong of after the game.

"We were very pleased that the foreign minister came and even stayed throughout the game," Wong said.

The foreign minister started the game as a pitcher and then stayed on to take part in the competition that lasted for around two hours.

But Chien had some bad luck with his first two attempts at bat, followed subsequently by a surprising double.

Laughter erupted from the crowd when a member of the foreign team found his bat flying through the sky when he attempted to hit the ball from the pitcher.

The ministry's team was composed of around 14 members, with only one female participant, whereas its opponents came from Panama, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Mexico and Paraguay.

The ambassadors of Nicaragua, Panama and Guatemala played in the game. Ambassador Jose Antonio Dominguez of Panama led the international team in his capacity as the pitcher, and his counterpart was John Feng (馮寄台) from the foreign ministry.

Ambassador Wong said his team practised once about three weeks ago with members from the foreign ministry team.

The foreign minister also found himself greeted with a free bottle of beer from Ambassador Wong's cooler during the game.

The game marked the first time that the foreign ministry's softball team has played against any Taipei-based diplomats and their families in this informal manner.

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