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Taiwan officials want Hsieh Su-wei to play tennis at Olympics

2016/08/04 15:17:39

CNA file photo

Taipei, Aug. 4 (CNA) Taiwanese sports officials said Thursday that they hope the country's top woman tennis player, Hsieh Su-wei (謝淑薇), will compete in the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, although she announced earlier in the day that she will pull out of the games over a row with the country's sports governing body.

"As of today, I'm retired from tennis in Taiwan," the 30-year-old said in a Facebook post. "I will never be drafted to be a player on the national team again."

In the post, Hsieh said she was berated by Tsai Szu-chueh (蔡賜爵), deputy head of the Taiwanese delegation to the Rio Games, who she said banged a table and shouted at her when she went to have a discussion.

Hsieh, who won the 2013 Wimbledon and 2014 French Open doubles championships with her Chinese partner Peng Shuai (彭帥), has protested over sports officials' decision not to give her brother a berth on the Taiwan delegation as her coach.

In response, Tsai said he was just exhorting Hsieh to put national pride ahead of personal needs and to fully prepare for the games when Hsieh raised a question over the arrangement during the discussion.

However, Hsieh said she was not fostered by the nation but by civic groups and that as a professional athlete, her priority is to play for her fans, according to Chiu Ping-kun (邱炳坤), CEO of the National Sports Training Center, who was also engaged in the discussion after the delegation had arrived in Rio for Friday's opening of the Olympic Games.

Noting that the conversation lasted for only five minutes after Hsieh decided not to continue, the headquarters of the National Olympic Committee (NOC) of Chinese Taipei said that although Hsieh's attitude is regrettable, it still hopes she will compete in the games.

The NOC will only deal with Hsieh's case after she files an application, said Tsai, who is also NOC deputy president.

Meanwhile, the Sports Administration under the Ministry of Education issued a press release calling on Hsieh to compete in the games in accordance with the NOC's original plan.

The Sports Administration also said it will convene a meeting of experts to discuss ways to reform the system of forming national sports teams after the Rio Games.

Premier Lin Chuan (林全) was very concerned about the matter and has directed NOC President Lin Hong-dow (林鴻道) to look into and properly handle the issue, Cabinet spokesman Tung Chen-yuan (童振源) said that day.

It remained uncertain whether Hsieh, who is already in Rio de Janeiro, will compete in the games. She was unavailable for comment as of press time.

(By Lee Yu-cheng, Lin Hung-hen, Tai Ya-chen and Evelyn Kao)