Fri, Jul 24, 2009 - Page 4 News List

Presidential Office outlines ambitious sports park scheme

STAFF WRITER, WITH CNA

The government will build 50 athletics centers, 20 sports parks and a nationwide network of cycling paths over the next four years as part of its efforts to encourage people to choose healthier lifestyles.

Presidential Office Spokesman Wang Yu-chi (王郁琪) made the remarks on Wednesday after President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) meeting with Ministry of Transportation and Communications and Sports Affairs Council officials.

“The two agencies have come up with plans for building new athletics centers and nationwide cycling paths,” Wang said.

Multifunctional sports centers will be built in 39 cities and townships with populations of 150,000 or more and in 11 villages with populations of less than 150,000.

“The sports centers will be equipped with all sorts of modern exercise facilities and devices, such as treadmills and cross trainers,” Wang said.

For rural villages or townships that do not meet the requirements for a sports center, the government will help build new sports parks or renovate existing ones, he said.

The idea of building athletics centers and sports parks around the country comes from Ma’s experience in sports infrastructure development when he was mayor of Taipei, Wang said.

The ministry will help local governments develop five cycling trail models in Taipei, Ilan, Hualien and Taitung counties, he said.

To encourage eco-tourism, Wang said the ministry would work with local governments to integrate railway, highway and cycling path networks by developing a system of connections and transfers.

The development project will be carried out between next year and 2012, the ministry said.

Wang said Ma also wanted to see a certification system for professional cycling tour guides.

“The proposed accreditation system is not aimed at requiring cyclists to undergo national examinations to obtain a license, but at helping cycling fans gain access to professional guides in the field,” Wang said.

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