Fri, Sep 01, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Universiade boosted self-confidence: Ko

By Shen Pei-yao and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

The greatest effect of the Taipei Summer Universiade, which concluded on Wednesday, was the greatly increased self-confidence of Taiwanese, especially the younger generation, Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) said.

Taiwanese had viewed the event with pessimism during the six-year preparation period, but the results, with Taiwanese athletes winning 90 medals, including 26 gold medals, were a pleasant surprise.

When asked by the media if he felt relieved at the successful conclusion of the Universiade, Ko said he did not feel “relieved,” as his schedule and work hours remained the same with or without the Games.

“It is all work to me,” Ko said.

Ko said he thought that the greatest effect the Universiade had on Taiwan was the increase in self-confidence, especially among the younger generation.

He did not expect the nation to do so well in sports, Ko said, adding that in addition to winning more gold medals in roller sports, Taiwan also won a gold medal in men’s javelin while breaking a Universiade record.

Ko did not directly answer whether the successful conclusion of the Universiade would boost his re-election bid, only saying that the election was 15 months away and he “would do what needs to be done.”

National Taiwan Normal University professor Fan Shih-ping (范世平) said that Ko pandered to the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) throughout the closing ceremony.

The closing ceremony could not compare with the opening ceremony, Fan said in a post on Facebook, adding that for Ko, the ceremony was of lesser importance than his pandering to the DPP and his speech.

Ko’s mention of “Taiwan” 11 times during his speech, having pro-local bands perform during the closing ceremony and allowing pro-independence campaigners, such as supporters of the “Republic of Taiwan,” to enter the stadium carrying pro-independence flags were all attempts to be friendly toward the DPP, Fan said.

Fan said that Ko’s speech reminded him of a campaign speech, adding that it felt like Ko was not aiming to run for Taipei mayor, but was instead aiming for the presidency.

The nod toward former Taipei mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) for applying to host the Universiade was a brilliant move, Fan added.

Foreign athletes carrying Taiwan’s national flag during the ceremony might cause China to prevent Taiwan from hosting such large-scale international events again, Fan said.

On the one hand, they are afraid of the nation becoming more internationalized, while on the other hand, Taiwanese have become more willing to band together in such events, Fan added.

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