President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) yesterday presented national flags to the athletes attending this year's Asian Games in Doha, Qatar, encouraging them to win glory for the country.
"I hope you will do your best and make the world see that Taiwan is the best," Chen said. "Don't forget that Taiwan's 23 million people will be cheering for each and every one of you."
Chen was speaking at the National Sports Training Center in Tsoying (
The opening ceremony of the Asian Games will take place next Friday. The nation is sending 391 athletes to compete in 34 events and has set a target of 15 gold medals.
The team is strong in sports such as taekwondo, archery, baseball, softball, rugby and billiards.
Taiwan has performed well in every Asian Games since it won 31 medals in 1990.
The nation was seventh in the medal table at the 2002 Busan Asian Games, when it won 10 gold medals, 17 silver and 25 bronze. In the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Taiwan won two gold medals, two silver and one bronze, ranking 31 in the total number of medals.
While acknowledging the nation's achievements over the years, Chen said that he was well aware that sports funding and facilities were insufficient. He said that he has instructed the Executive Yuan to increase the funding of the National Council on Physical Fitness and Sports.