Thu, May 09, 2019 - Page 2 News List

Minister pledges treats if team wins 4 Olympic gold

GOLDEN PLAN:The program is designed to provide intensive customized training to 27 promising athletes to help the nation achieve its goal in Tokyo next year

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

Minister of Education Pan Wen-chung speaks at a meeting of the legislature’s Education and Culture Committee in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: Wang Yi-sung, Taipei Times

Minister of Education Pan Wen-chung (潘文忠) yesterday said that he is willing to buy 1,000 cups of pearl milk tea as a treat to match a legislator’s pledge to buy 1,000 fried chicken cutlets if the nation wins at least four gold medals at the Summer Olympics in Tokyo next year.

Pan made the remarks at a meeting of the Legislative Yuan’s Education and Culture Committee to brief lawmakers about the nation’s preparations for the Olympics.

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Huang Kuo-shu said that the national team’s morale is at an all-time high as lawmakers passed an amendment to the National Sports Act (國民體育法) in 2017 and the national team achieved its best performance at the Asian Games last year.

Asking Pan if the Sports Administration has set a target for the number of gold medals that the team could win at the Olympics, Huang said that he thinks the nation has a very high chance of winning gold in women’s badminton, men’s gymnastics, women’s weightlifting and men’s javelin throw.

Taiwan has the world’s No. 1 badminton player Tai Tzu-ying (戴資穎), “pummel horse prince” Lee Chi-kai (李智凱), three-time world champion weightlifter Kuo Hsing-chun (郭婞淳) and Universiade javelin champion Cheng Chao-tsun (鄭兆村), Huang said.

Cheng would win another gold medal in Tokyo if he throws the javelin as far as he did at the 2017 Summer Universiade in Taipei, he said.

Huang then vowed to buy 1,000 fried chicken cutlets if the nation secures at least four gold medals and asked Pan if he would like to double down on that pledge by buying 1,000 cups of pearl milk tea.

Pan said that he is willing to do what Huang asked, adding that the nation has stipulated a “Golden Plan” to intensify training for potential winners.

Sports Administration officials told lawmakers that the plan covers 27 athletes, who are divided into three groups.

Level I athletes refer to those who are either in the world’s top three rankings or whose accumulative points for the Olympics are within the world’s top three.

Level II athletes are those who have won gold medals in a recently held World Championship in different sports categories or in the Asian Games last year.

Level III athletes are those who are likely to make it to the quarter-finals in the Olympics.

All these athletes receive customized training, the agency said.

The agency estimated that the nation would send 50 to 70 athletes to next year’s Olympics, not including members of the women’s softball team, women’s soccer team and baseball team.

There are currently 433 athletes and 145 coaches in the National Sports Training Center in Zuoying (左營), Kaohsiung, the agency said, adding that they are competing in 23 sports categories.

There are also athletes training in facilities in other cities or counties, including basketball, beach volleyball, soccer and shooting, it said.

As Taichung is to hold the World Baseball Softball Confederation Premier 12 baseball tournament in November, DPP legislators Su Chiao-hui (蘇巧慧) and Chang Liao Wan-chien (張廖萬堅) asked Sports Administration Director-General Kao Chun-hsiung (高俊雄) when the manager of the national baseball team is to be selected, as the Chinese Professional Baseball League had previously said that a manager would be chosen by the middle of last month.

Kao said the decision has been delayed because the league was busy handling the entry of a fifth team.

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