The Sports Administration and government officials yesterday came under criticism for hijacking elite athletes to promote their own political agendas and only focusing medal tallies.
“If we do not change our basic notions and outmoded concepts, then no amount of government restructuring can help improve the level and scope of sporting competition and the sports industry in Taiwan,” Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Yu Mei-nu (尤美女) said at a public hearing in Taipei to discuss separating the Sports Administration from the Ministry of Education.
Lawmakers were joined at the event by experts, sports reform advocates and sports industry executives.
Instead of making a separate entity, we should review the existing government structure and pool resources to promote the sports industry and better support athletes,” she said.
Yu said there was a need to clarify jurisdictions and sporting fields, since traditional notions of sports are changing.
There are many emerging activities that people argue should be included as sports, such as outdoor leisure and fitness activities, online computer games and street dance competitions, she said.
“The Sports Administration is in need of reform, because it is focused only on elite athletes and is always seeking glory to serve its political agenda by demanding that those representing the nation bring back a certain number of gold medals from international competitions,” Taiwan Sports Industry Development Association executive Chiao Chia-hung (焦佳弘) said.
Sports Administration Director-General Lin Te-fu (林德福) has set a target of at least 10 golds and 51 medals for this year’s Asian Games in Jakarta.
Government sports officials should instead promote participation in sports by encouraging all citizens, including local communities and clubs, Chiao said.
“If we created a Sports Ministry, but officials still only focus on elite athletes so that they can boast about how many gold medals Taiwan has won, then there is no need for this new ministry,” Chiao said.
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