Despite the achievements of New York Yankees pitcher Wang Chien-ming and ultra-marathon runner Kevin Lin, plus the efforts of the nation’s golfers and tennis players, Taiwan’s impact in the international sporting arena has been minimal. It wasn’t until 2004 that local athletes won Olympic golds. And last August, Taiwan’s sportsmen and women returned from the Beijing Games of the 29th Olympiad with a paltry and disappointing four bronze medals.
This summer, however, Taiwanese have a chance to shine before the world – if not as record-breaking contestants, then at least as hosts. The Eighth Edition of the World Games, scheduled to open on July 16 in Kaohsiung City, will be by far the largest and highest-profile sporting event ever held on the island.
The city expects to welcome more than 5,300 athletes and officials from at least 90 nations. The Olympic Games may have more participants – 11,028 athletes represented 204 nations and territories at the Beijing Games – but the World Games is every bit as diverse. The 2009 gathering will include 26 official sports, among them field archery, racquetball, indoor hockey, and canoe polo. There will also be five invitational sports, among them dragon-boat racing, handball, and the martial art wushu.
Thanks to a relentless publicity effort backed by the Kaohsiung City Government, residents of Taiwan’s second city – most of whom had never even heard of the World Games five years ago – are now thoroughly clued-in about the event...
The rest of this article is here. Other pieces of mine about the event are here and here. The photo, courtesy of the Kaohsiung Organizing Committee, shows the main stadium prior to completion.
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