Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) yesterday joined visiting NBA star Nate Robinson in learning basic taekwondo techniques, as part of the city’s efforts to promote the Summer Universiade it is hosting in 2017.
To boost the popularity of taekwondo — a sport in which Taiwan stands a good chance of winning medals — Taipei City’s Department of Sports invited Hau and Robinson to don taekwondo outfits, receive instruction from Taiwanese Olympic gold medalist Chu Mu-yen (朱木炎) and perform a few moves with a group of elementary-school students.
While practicing together under Chu’s guidance, Hau praised Robinson as a hardworking athlete who has outperformed many taller NBA players, and said young Taiwanese athletes should learn how to overcome physical drawbacks and strive for greatness.
“Nate Robinson is a hardworking athlete, and we hope his story will inspire Taiwanese athletes to seek greatness in the Summer Universiade,” he said at the Zhongzheng Sports Center.
Robinson, who is on a five-day trip in Taiwan, described taekwondo as a difficult but beautiful sport, and said he would learn to excel in the sports if given a chance.
“If I took a class and learned how to do this I think I would be pretty good because I would challenge myself to be the best at what I do,” he said.
Taipei beat Brasilia, the capital of Brazil, in December last year to secure the right to host the 2017 Universiade. The games will be the largest international event hosted by Taipei since the Summer Deaflympics in 2009 and the Taipei International Flora Expo in 2010.
The city has allocated about NT$42.5 billion (US$1.4 billion) for the games and invested a large portion on international promotion.
The city has invited Robinson and Taiwanese golfer Yani Tseng (曾雅妮) to serve as spokespersons for the games, while continuing to seek more support from celebrity athletes such as NBA star Jeremy Lin (林書豪), who is of Taiwanese descent.