Mon, Oct 01, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Asian Para Games delegation to depart today

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

Vice President Chen Chien-jen, left, claps after presenting Taiwan’s Olympic flag to the Asian Para Games delegation during a ceremony at the Sports Administration’s headquarters in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: CNA

About 140 athletes and their coaches are scheduled to leave today for the Asian Para Games in Indonesia, which open in Jakarta on Saturday.

Vice President Chen Chien-jen (陳建仁) yesterday handed the nation’s Olympic flag to the delegation at the ceremony held at the Sports Administration’s headquarters in Taipei.

Chen thanked the athletes and coaches for the time and effort they have made and wished them the best at the Asia Para Games, adding their performance would encourage other physically challenged individuals to exercise regularly and take part in competitive sports.

The 143-member delegation includes 89 athletes. They are to compete in 11 categories: track and field, swimming, powerlifting, shooting, archery, table tennis, judo, wheelchair tennis, badminton, wheelchair basketball and bowling.

Chang Wei-chieh (張維捷), one of the swimmers, is a senior studying applied foreign language at Takming University of Science and Technology.

Born with no shinbones, Chang learned to swim as a third-grader in elementary school, and his specialty is the 100m breaststroke, for which he holds a national record of 1 minute, 52:75 seconds.

“I don’t care if people call me a legless person, a robot or a freak. I am confident and tell everybody I’m an ironman,” Chang once posted on Facebook.

Chang said he hoped his experiences would inspire other physically challenged people to forget about how others might look at them and show their confidence in sports.

Given that the Asian Para Games are his first chance to represent the nation, Chang said he was really nervous, but he was also happy and thinks that it is going to be a cool experience.

He was honored to have received the subsidy from Chen on behalf of the delegation, and it motivated him to strive for his best performance, Chang said.

He trains for at least two hours per day, and US Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps is his idol, he said, adding that he hopes to emulate Phelps’ performances.

Two women, Hu Kuang-chiu (胡光秋) and Yang Yi-cheng (楊伊宸), made it onto the national wheelchair badminton team for the first time.

About 2,400 athletes from 43 nations and regions in Asia are to compete in the Games in Jakarta.

Taiwan won four gold medals, 10 silvers and 24 bronzes at the 2014 Asian Para Games in Incheon, South Korea, finishing eighth in the total medal count.

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