Taipei, New Taipei sign contract to host World Masters Games

12/10/2020 11:00 PM
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Taipei City Mayor Ko Wen-je (third from right) and New Taipei City Mayor Hou Yu-ih (first from right). CNA photo Dec. 10, 2020
Taipei City Mayor Ko Wen-je (third from right) and New Taipei City Mayor Hou Yu-ih (first from right). CNA photo Dec. 10, 2020

Taipei, Dec. 10 (CNA) The mayors of Taipei and New Taipei on Thursday officially signed a contract to host the 2025 World Masters Games, an international sporting competition for athletes over 30 years old.

Taipei City Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) and New Taipei City Mayor Hou Yu-ih (侯友宜) formalized the agreement in a video call with Kai Holm and Jens V. Holm, who are, respectively, the president and CEO of the International Masters Games Association (IMGA), which organizes the event.

The games, which are held every four years, are open to athletes over the age of 30 in a wide range of sports, competing as individuals rather than part of a national team.

Taipei and New Taipei were confirmed as the hosts in October, edging out the French capital Paris and the Australian city of Perth for the right to host the 2025 edition of the games, which are scheduled for May 17-30.

In a pre-recorded video message played at the contract signing, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said that Taiwan aims to host the most successful edition of the games ever and do its utmost to realize the ideal of "Sports for All."

Taiwan will build on its past experience hosting international sporting competitions, including the 2009 Deaflympics in Taipei, 2009 World Games In Kaohsiung, and the 2017 Taipei Summer Universiade, in organizing the games, Tsai said, adding that the entire country will work to support the host cities.

She thanked the IMGA for its support and recognition, and praised the games' no restrictions on entry as allowing athletes to "fully express (their) love of sports."

President Tsai's video message (with English subtitles)

When Taipei and New Taipei first announced the news in October, Taipei Deputy Mayor Tsai Ping-kun (蔡炳坤) said that about 48,000 athletes and their families from 110 countries are expected to visit Taiwan for the games, which will feature 32 sports categories.

It is estimated the games will cost about NT$1.6 billion (US$55.6 million) to host in Taiwan, Tsai said at the time.

The games are expected to bring in NT$10 billion in tourism revenue, according to Li Tzai-li (李再立), head of the Taipei city government's sports department.

The World Masters Games, launched in 1985 in Toronto, are usually held the year after the Olympics, according to IMGA.

The last edition of the games was in Auckland, New Zealand in 2017, while the next one will be hosted in Japan's Kansai region in 2022, one year after originally scheduled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

(By Chen Yi-hsuan, Yeh Su-ping and Chiang Yi-ching)

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