Tue, Jun 15, 2004 - Page 2 News List

Chen praises Kaohsiung for landing World Games

STAFF WRITER WITH CNA

Kaohsiung Mayor Frank Hsieh, center, 2009 World Games Chairman Ron Froehlich, left, and the games' secretary general, Co Koren, yesterday sign the contract granting Kaohsiung the right to host the games.

PHOTO:CHANG CHUNG-YI, TAIPEI TIMES

President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) yesterday hailed Kaohsiung's successful bid to host the 2009 World Games, saying the event will contribute to Taiwan's efforts to play a more active role in the world arena.

"I am sure that within the next five years the MRT system of Kaohsiung will be completely ready to welcome the event," Chen said in a reception for foreign guests.

"I am very pleased that both Kaohsiung and Taipei have gained the opportunity to host great international sports events. This proves that sporting competitions can break down political fences," the president said.

Chen made the remarks while receiving Ron Froehlich, president of the International World Games Association (IWGA), and Co Koren, the association's secretary-general, at the Presidential Office.

Froehlich and Koren told Chen that after two years of extensive evaluations, the IWGA has decided to hold the 8th World Games in Kaohsiung.

Chen expressed his appreciation to the IWGA and to its related organization, the International Olympic Committee (IOC), for assisting Taiwan's bids to host sporting events, saying that such successes are encouraging news for Taiwanese who are expected to participate in the events as competitors and supporters.

Chen said that Chinese opposition had in the past barred Taiwan from hosting such international sporting events.

"So we are very pleased to obtain the rights to host the 2009 World Games in Kaohsiung and the 2009 Deaflympics in Taipei. We cherish these opportunities and will make every effort to ensure that the events proceed smoothly," Chen said.

The IWGA was founded in 1980 for World Games that are held every four years. This competition is now the world's second-largest international sporting event after the Olympics, and includes more than 30 sports that are not included in the Olympics.

Taiwan has sent delegations to take part in the World Games since their inception. In the 6th World Games held in the Japanese city of Akita in 2001, Taiwan ranked 13th among 87 participating countries or areas in terms of medals won, surpassing China. The 7th World Games will be held in Duisburg, Germany, in 2005.

Chen told the two IWGA executives that Kaohsiung, Taiwan's largest commercial port and second-largest city, has modern sports facilities. Moreover, he said, the city's mass rapid transit system will be completed by the time the 2009 World Games take place.

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