Wed, Jan 30, 2019 - Page 3 News List

Coaches, referees to learn English: sports authority

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

Taiwanese ultramarathon runner Tommy Chen, second right, badminton player Chou Tien-chen, right, gymnast Tang Chia-hung, second left, table tennis player Cheng I-ching, fourth right, and baseball player Lo Ching-lung, left, pose for a photograph at a news conference in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: CNA

The Sports Administration yesterday said that starting this year it would help sports associations incorporate English courses on sports terminology into their training seminars for coaches and referees in line with the government’s policy to turn Taiwan into a bilingual nation by 2030.

The courses for coaches and referees would be different, the agency said.

The courses aim to help local coaches and referees obtain certificates from international sports associations, so that their skills can match those of their foreign counterparts, it said.

Athletes, referees and coaches can all agree that being able to communicate in English is critical when participating in international competitions, as it can help them to quickly gather the latest and most accurate information, and exchange thoughts and ideas with their foreign counterparts, Sports Administration Director-General Kao Chin-hsiung (高俊雄) said.

Many Taiwanese star athletes can speak English and they can set an example for younger athletes who aim to compete in international games, he said.

Taiwanese ultramarathon runner Tommy Chen (陳彥博), who is the first Asian runner to complete the 4 Deserts Race Series in a single calendar year, said that he almost always failed in English exams at school.

His most embarrassing moment was in Oslo, where he had his first cross-country skiing training in 2008, Chen told a news conference.

Trying to order food for three people at a McDonald’s, Chen said that he could not read the English menu and could only say “yup” to whatever the staff was offering him, and ended up ordering food that was enough for eight people.

He said that he now teaches himself English by watching talk shows on YouTube and using Google Translate.

Badminton player Chou Tien-chen (周天成) said that he won a match in the German Open in 2014 after arguing over a point in English.

“I explained to him [the referee] in English why he had misjudged, which prompted him to review the situation and rule that the point be replayed. And I won the match 21:19,” he said.

The nation’s first female baseball umpire Sophiyah Liu (劉柏君), whose story inspired the HBO Taiwan series The Teenage Psychic, said that she supports the ministry’s policy.

“I do not know about other sports, but there are a lot of protests in baseball games. Taiwanese might be very good at protesting when they are in Taiwan, but they become shy and would choose not to protest because that means they have to speak English,” Liu said, adding that she has experience translating sports rules for national teams.

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