Taiwanese athletes at the World Deaf Youth Games in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on Friday bagged two golds, a silver and two bronzes on the final day of the multisport competition, bringing the nation’s total medal haul to 14.
The first gold was captured in the women’s 200m freestyle by Li Yi-ling, who broke Taiwan’s national record for deaf athletes with a time of 2 minutes, 21.49 seconds.
Li had already won silver in the women’s 200m individual medley and bronze in the women’s 50m butterfly.
Photo: CNA, courtesy of the Chinese Taipei Deaf Sports Federation
The team’s swimming coach, Chen Yi-chung, told reporters that the 200m freestyle was Li’s best shot at making it to the top of her sport and they had anticipated her beating the national record.
Chen and Li also discussed new pacing for the 200m freestyle final, the coach said.
This saw Li pull away from the other swimmers in the first half of the race before using her superior stamina to maintain the gap and sprinting to gold over the final 15m, Chen said.
Li’s times were all up to par, but her placings were below expectations, Chen said.
However, as she had a demanding schedule of seven events in three days against top international swimmers, her efforts should be applauded, he said.
The biggest challenge for Li was overcoming the 11-hour time difference between Taiwan and the South American nation within two to three days, he said.
“The smallest chili pepper is the spiciest,” Chen said, referring to Li’s small stature.
She is passionate about swimming, put herself fully into training, and was ready to accept advice and adjustments, he added.
With the confidence boost of winning three medals at the Games, Chen said he expected Li to perform better at the Deaflympics in Tokyo next year.
The second Taiwanese gold on Friday was won in the men’s long jump by Wei Yu-tze with a leap of 6.35m.
Runner Chen Yun-hsuan took silver in the women’s 400m, while Yang Tien-pi won bronze in the men’s 400m.
Rounding out Friday’s medal haul was Taiwan’s men’s 3x3 basketball team, who won bronze.
Sixteen countries participated at the inaugural World Deaf Youth Games for athletes aged 14 to 18.
The 16 Taiwanese competing in athletics, badminton, 3x3 basketball and swimming collected four golds, five silvers and five bronzes during the three-day event.
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