Sun, May 13, 2018 - Page 3 News List

2017 Summer Universiade showed ‘tough Taiwanese spirit,’ achieved miracle: Ko

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

Former vice president Annette Lu talks about her recent comments regarding Taiwan’s performance at last year’s Taipei Summer Universiade at a news conference in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: CNA

Last year’s Taipei Summer Universiade displayed the “tough Taiwanese spirit,” Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) said yesterday.

Ko made the remarks in response to comments by former vice president Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) that Taiwan won many medals in the Games because China’s best athletes did not compete.

“Did we perform so well in the Universiade? It’s because China made it easy for us. They held the National Games of the People’s Republic of China at the same time, so all the best athletes stayed in China,” Lu said on a political talk show aired on Thursday evening.

She also claimed that the Chinese government informed Ko in advance that it would “let him off the hook and make it easy for him,” and that is why Taiwan was able to win so many gold medals.

Taipei was the host of the Games and Team Taiwan won 26 gold medals, 34 silvers and 30 bronzes, the best Universiade result that the nation had ever achieved.

Lu’s remark caused many upset netizens to leave comments on her Facebook page, including some asking her to apologize to Taiwanese athletes for discrediting their efforts, some accusing her of shaming Taiwanese athletes to achieve her political goal of attacking Ko, and others saying her remark would hurt the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) election results in the Nov. 24 nine-in-one elections.

When asked about the criticism, Lu said later on Friday: “I am telling the truth. Why should I apologize? People who speak the truth should be recognized and supported.”

At a news conference held yesterday to further explain her remarks, Lu said that she had made the comments based on media reports quoting Ko as saying that China had sent only second-tier athletes to the Games.

Ko yesterday posted on his Facebook page a documentary titled Inside — Taipei Universiade, which was put together by the city government and National Geographic to show the preparation behind the Games and the event’s unfolding. The film won a Gold Remi award in the Documentary category at last month’s WorldFest-Houston International Film Festival.

“The Universiade belongs to the whole of Taiwan,” Ko wrote. “The athletes who fought hard on the playing fields, the government officials who firmly held their posts and the 18,000 volunteers who contributed with selfless spirit all showed the extremely tough Taiwanese spirit and together achieved the Taiwan miracle.”

When asked about Lu’s remark, he said Taiwan has always had the habit of forgetting that China is only one part of the world, so even if China did not send its best athletes to the Games, there were still athletes from other nations participating.

China might be an important factor, but it was not the only one, he added.

The DPP supported Ko, an independent, in the 2014 election, but whether the party should support Ko’s bid for a second term has become a heated topic of discussion as a number of party members, including Lu, have announced their intention to run in the party’s Taipei primary and some pan-green supporters have questioned Ko’s stance on pro-Taiwan independence.

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