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Young judo star to make Olympic debut in Rio

2016/07/11 17:11:00

Tsai Ming-yen (left) pratices in the National Sports Training Center in Kaohsiung in June.

Tsai Ming-yen (蔡明諺), a 20-year-old judo star who has bagged several medals at a young age, will compete in his first Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro this year.

Tsai's first major win was a bronze medal at the 2012 Asian Judo Championships when he was 16. He was the youngest male athlete selected to represent the country at the time.

In 2014, he won a bronze medal at a Grand Slam tournament in Paris, Taiwan's first medal at this level of competition.

"I managed to win my first bronze medal when I was 26. He snatched one at the age of 16, doing much better than I did," says Tsai's coach, Huang Cheng-yao (黃呈堯), who retired from competition in 1996, the year Tsai was born.

Tsai Ming-yen (left) and his coach Huang Cheng-yao.

Though a labral tear Tsai suffered in his right shoulder last year is still affecting his performance, he said he continued competing to pick up points to qualify for the Rio Games so his coach could fulfill the dream of training an Olympic athlete.

Tsai will compete in the men's under 60 kilogram division in Rio.

(By Lee Yu-cheng and Kay Liu)