The Sports Administration yesterday held a flag awards ceremony for Taiwanese athletes who are to compete in the Summer Olympic Games, as most of them are to leave for Tokyo on a charter flight on Monday next week.
President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) attended the ceremony and handed a national flag and an Olympic flag to Taiwan’s delegation to the Games. She also gave the delegation a bonus of NT$200,000 to purchase food and nutritional supplements for the athletes.
That the Olympic Games can proceed as scheduled, despite repeated challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic, shows the strong will of the Japanese government, Tsai said, adding that Taiwan and other countries are also prepared for the international event.
Photo courtesy of the Presidential Office via CNA
“We hope that the Olympic Games this time will demonstrate our determination to combat the virus and inspire a collective will to defeat it,” Tsai said.
Due to the pandemic, the delegation would be accompanied by medical experts and take a supply of personal protective equipment, Tsai said, adding that the athletes would also have trainers and physical therapists.
Taiwan has 66 athletes competing in 18 sports categories.
“The nation is home to a world-record holder in women’s weightlifting, the world’s No. 1 [women’s] badminton player and Asia’s No. 1 javelin thrower,” Tsai said. “We are familiar with the feats of Taiwanese heroes.”
Many younger athletes have qualified for the first time, such as those competing in karate and canoeing, she said, adding that she has high hopes for athletes of the “golden generation,” who would challenge their limits and inspire the world with their best performances.
Last year, the organizers of the Tokyo Games postponed the event until this month due to COVID-19.
On Thursday, they agreed to host the Games without spectators after Japan announced a state of emergency in Tokyo.
Taiwan’s Olympic team includes world women’s singles No. 1 badminton player and three-time Olympian Tai Tzu-ying (戴資穎); badminton player Chou Tien-chen (周天成), who is among the world’s top five male players; fellow shuttle ace Wang Tzu-wei (王子維); weightlifter Kuo Hsing-chun (郭婞淳), who holds a world record in her weight category; golfer Pan Cheng-chung (潘政琮), who was a PGA Tour winner in 2019; golfer Hsu Wei-ling (徐薇淩), who was an LPGA tour winner this year; sprinter Yang Chun-han (楊俊瀚), who is Taiwan’s fastest; sisters Chan Hao-ching (詹皓晴) and Latisha Chan (詹詠然), who are women’s doubles tennis champions; and tennis player Lu Yen-hsun (盧彥勳), an ATP Challenger Tour winner.
Tai yesterday said she would not have trouble competing in an arena with no people cheering for her, adding that she started competing without spectators during a tournament in Thailand in January.
Gymnast Lee Chih-kai (李智凱), who is also known as the “prince of the pommel horse,” said that he is packing more disease prevention gear in his luggage.
From Friday next week to Aug. 8, people in Taiwan can watch the Games on Eastern Broadcasting and Public Television Service channels, as well as on Elta TV on Chunghwa Telecom’s multimedia-on-demand system.
Additional reporting by staff writer
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