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UNIVERSIADE: President Tsai declares Taipei Universiade open (update)

2017/08/19 22:20:36

Taipei, Aug. 19 (CNA) Republic of China President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) formally opened the Taipei 2017 Summer Universiade Saturday evening at Taipei Stadium, following a colorful opening ceremony at the biggest international sports event ever held in Taiwan.

Tsai declared the games open after 141 national teams from around the world paraded across the stadium, which was packed with local and foreign fans.

"Welcome to Taiwan," Tsai said, as she declared the Taipei Unviersiade officially open.

The ceremony began with Chi Cheng (紀政), Taiwan's first female Olympic medalist, leading a group of eight Taiwanese flag bearers, all of whom have made great contributions to sports in the country.

The Chinese Taipei flag was then hoisted as the ROC national flag anthem played. Taiwan is participating in the Universiade under the name Chinese Taipei, in accordance with an agreement with the International Olympic Committee.

As athletes from around the world began parading into the stadium, images of their national flags were displayed on a gigantic electronic panel on the floor of the stadium.

The Taiwan team of 368 athletes was the last to enter the venue, led by Yang Chun-han (楊俊瀚), the 100-meter and 200-meter national record holder.

Dressed in blue and white, the Taiwanese athletes were loudly cheered and applauded as they paraded around the stadium, with Yang carrying the flag.

China did not take part in the opening ceremony but its flag was carried by bearer in the parade of nations.

The opening ceremony was marred by protesters against the government's pension reform plan, who blocked many athletes from entering the venue of the 2017 Taipei Universiade on time, which meant most of the teams were unable to take part in the parade of nations.

The teams were lined up to enter the venue in alphabetical but only those from countries whose names start with A or B were able to get in. The others were represented only by a flag bearer during the ceremony.

The Taipei City government had deployed some 6,000 police and security personnel in and around the stadium to maintain order, and the all the athletes eventually got into the venue.

(By Elizabeth Hsu)