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Former athletes bring competitive spirit to politics
【Politics】2011-05-25  22:09:53
Taipei, May 25 (CNA) Two former athletes are running a different kind of race over the next seven months.

In two constituencies in northern Taiwan, ex-sports stars are gunning for legislative seats and hoping their star power will lead to greater electoral support from voters.

Chao Shih-chiang, a former member of Taiwan's national baseball team, said in a press conference Wednesday that after several days of consideration, he has agreed to accept the invitation from the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) to run for a seat at the Legislative Yuan.

Chao will challenge incumbent lawmaker Chiang Nai-shin of the ruling Kuomintang (KMT) in Taipei City's Daan constituency.

Nicknamed "smiling George," Chao, 51, became a businessman after retiring from baseball. He is now running a sports and entertainment company.

If elected, he said he will speak mostly for seniors and the sports sector.

"It's sad that Taiwan has many sports activities and talent but no sports industry," he lamented.

Chao's announcement follows that of Chien Wei-chuan, a former member of Taiwan's women national basketball team, who announced a day earlier that she was recruited by the KMT to run for a legislative seat representing New Taipei City's Luzhou constituency.

Chien, 39, will fight an uphill battle against incumbent Lin Shu-fen of the DPP as Luzhou has traditionally been a stronghold of the opposition.

In order to prepare for the election, Chien has quit her job as the assistant coach of Taiwan's national women's basketball team for the World University Games in August.

When asked about her challenging task of unseating Lin, the former athlete gave the media a taste of her competitive spirit.

"I believe the fruit of a victory that's won from a difficult race will be much sweeter, " Chien said.

"This is going to be a World Cup-class competition without going through which you'll never know the results," she said. (By Lee Shu-hua, Wang Hung-kuo & Bear Lee) enditem/ly

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