Tue, May 08, 2007 - Page 2 News List

Lawmaker blasts sports council chief for neglect

CARE FOR ATHLETES Liao Pen-yen said he doubted the nation would be able to duplicate its past Olympic achievements under Jongher Yang's poor management

By Jewel Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

National Council on Physical Fitness and Sports Chairman Jongher Yang answers questions from Taiwan Solidarity Union Legislator Liao Pen-yen at the Legislative Yuan yesterday over whether the council had allocated enough funds and done enough to train and develop local athletes.

PHOTO: CHU PEI-HSIUNG, TAIPEI TIMES

A Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) legislator yesterday blasted the National Council on Physical Fitness and Sports for not allocating enough resources to train local players and for failing to protect their rights, resulting in their defeat in a recent international competition.

Speaking at a meeting of the legislature's Budgets and Final Accounts Committee, TSU Legislator Liao Pen-yen (廖本煙) said that council Chairman Jongher Yang (楊忠和) failed to take care of local athletes' rights, adding that he doubted if Taiwan would be able to win any medals in the 2008 Olympic Games under Yang's management and leadership.

Liao asked Yang what were the events he thought Taiwan had a chance of winning in next year's Olympics.

"Taekwondo, shooting and judo are three events in which we have a chance of winning," Yang said.

Liao said he was worried that Taiwan would not be able to duplicate its achievements in the 2004 Olympic Games because the council had not devoted its energy to developing and training local athletes, with the budget for training and living allowances for athletes far from sufficient.

As an example, Liao referred to a taekwondo match he witnessed in March.

The lawmaker said he followed the nation's Taekwondo team to an international competition in Holland, but the players did not know that the rules of the game had been altered until they arrived in Holland.

All participants in the competition were required to wear mouth guard braces and gloves because of safety concerns. As none of the Taiwanese athletes had brought the required equipment, they had to buy the gear in Holland. Liao said the braces were ill-fitting and affected the performance of local athletes.

"When our taekwondo players shouted at their rivals during the competition, the mouth guards fell out. Let me ask you, how could our players win in that case?" Liao said, adding that the council failed to safeguard local athletes' rights.

Yang did not respond to Liao's heckling, only saying that the council would pay greater attention to the problems raised by the lawmaker and make improvements.

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