Wed, Sep 05, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Leaders pledge support for athletes raising visibility

By Jonathan Chin  /  Staff Writer, with CNA

Legislative Speaker Su Jia-chyuan, front second right, presents athletes and coaches who took part in the Asian Games with commemorative plates during a ceremony at the Presidential Office Building in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: Liu Hsin-de, Taipei Times

President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), Premier William Lai (賴清德) and Legislative Speaker Su Jia-chyuan (蘇嘉全) yesterday pledged to support athletes who compete for the nation’s honor and raise its visibility on the world stage.

“Thank you all for the glory you brought Taiwan. The nation is great because of you,” Tsai told the team that won 17 gold, 19 silver and 31 bronze medals at the Asian Games in Indonesia and those who provided logistical support for them.

The team finished in seventh place on the medals table with 67, bringing home the second-most gold medals Taiwan has ever won at the Games.

The athletes and their coaches, as well as the accompanying chefs, physicians, dietitians and trainers, were greeted by an honor guard at the Presidential Office Building in Taipei, where Tsai hosted a ceremony to welcome the “heroes” home.

Many of the gold medals were the nation’s first in those events, outperforming nations with far larger populations, Tsai said.

“Taiwan is one of the great sporting nations. There is no doubt about that,” she said.

She also expressed her gratitude to the Sports Administration and other agencies for coordinating logistical support for the athletes, including arranging accommodation near the Gelora Bung Karno Stadium in Jakarta.

This year’s level of logistical support has set a benchmark for other events, Tsai said, instructing the sports agency to begin preparations for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Separately, Su urged lawmakers not to slash the agency’s budget after commending the athletes at a ceremony at the Legislative Yuan.

It was the first time that the legislature has commended athletes who had won medals at the Asian Games or the Olympics, Su said, adding that he hopes this would be the beginning of a new tradition.

The nation’s athletes would perform superbly at the Tokyo Games as long as the government cultivates a good professional environment for them, he added.

At a banquet held in honor of the athletes, Lai congratulated them and wished them success in Tokyo.

Lai acknowledged the hard work by coaches, doctors and chefs accompanying the players at the Asian Games, adding that the Chinese Taipei Olympic Committee and the athletes have worked hard for the acclaim the nation had won.

The government should pass legislation to improve the nation’s athletic institutions, establish a better training environment, provide incentives to coaches and athletes and make sports attractive to young Taiwanese, he added.

Additional reporting by Lin Liang-sheng

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