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President Ma vows to build Taiwan into 'sports island'

2011/09/24 16:17

Taipei, Sept. 24 (CNA) President Ma Ying-jeou said Saturday he is determined to turn Taiwan into "a sports island," where people will exercise regularly.

"It's a very important political platform that I proposed four years ago during my election campaign," Ma said in Taichung at the launch of a countrywide support group for his reelection bid.

The group, launched by several sports organizations in the country, includes Chinese Taipei Olympic Committee Chairman Tsai Chen-wei and his two deputies Lin Hong-dow and Tsai Szu-chueh.

It also comprises the heads of the Chinese Taipei Basketball Association, the Chinese Taipei Baseball Association, the Chinese Taipei Taekwondo Association and the Chinese Taipei Bowling Association.

At the event at Taichung Harbor Municipal Stadium, Ma said he had built or renovated 80 swimming pools in Taipei during his tenure as mayor 1998-2006. The aim was to encourage every student in the city to learn to swim and perform well in the sport, he added.

He also constructed bike paths in Taipei during that time, and since May 2008 when he took office as president, more than 500 kilometers of cycling trails have been built around the country, he said.

The president said he has seen the development of a trend in which cycling is becoming a national sport.

"The reforms must not stop," he said. "I will continue to do my best to build Taiwan into a sports island."

Ma is seeking reelection in the Jan. 14 presidential election next year, with Premier Wu Den-yih as his running mate.

(By Kelven Huang and Elizabeth Hsu)enditem/pc