Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Taiwan at the London Olympics

Taiwan's athletes have returned from the Olympic Games. Like four years ago, a few have become heroes, while the performance of others left many disappointed. The best-known of the nation's hopefuls was Taekwondo star Yang Shu-chun (楊淑君). Yang - twice Asian champion and a silver medalist in the most recent World Championship - failed at the quarterfinal stage of the women's under-49kg contest, but teammate Tseng Li-cheng (曾櫟騁) got a bronze in the women's under-57kg category. Like many of Taiwan's best sportsmen and sportswomen, Tseng is aboriginal. She's the second member of the Amis tribe to win an Olympic medal; the first was C.K. Yang (楊傳廣), back in 1960.

The finest achievement by any Taiwanese competing in London was in women's weightlifting (a sport in which 'Chinese-Taipei' usually does well in international contests): Hsu Shu-ching (許淑淨) won silver in the under-53kg class

Two medals isn't very impressive considering Taiwan's size and wealth, and the country isn't likely to do any better in the near future. Even though the government has invested in facilities and training programs, very few parents encourage their children to devote themselves to sport, and match-fixing scandals have harmed the image of baseball, the island's most popular spectator sport.

Just before the games, there was a minor political dust-up connected to the appearance of the ROC flag in London. Reports about the kerfuffle can be read here and here.  

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