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Olympics champion, int'l elites to star at Taiwan Athletics Open

05/14/2024 09:25 PM
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Canadian athlete Andre De Grasse, the reigning Olympic champion in the men's 200 meters. Photo courtesy of Chinese Taipei Athletics Association May 13, 2024
Canadian athlete Andre De Grasse, the reigning Olympic champion in the men's 200 meters. Photo courtesy of Chinese Taipei Athletics Association May 13, 2024

Taipei, May 14 (CNA) Andre De Grasse, the reigning Olympic champion in the men's 200 meters, and many other overseas elite athletes will showcase their talent in Taiwan in early June at the Taiwan Athletics Open, according to the event's official website.

The Canadian sprinter, who clocked 19.62 seconds to top the podium in Tokyo in 2021, will compete at Taipei Stadium in the two-day event for a rare gathering of top class international athletes, after the 2024 Taiwan Athletics Open was upgraded to a leg of the World Athletics Continental Tour.

The elevated status of the competition means more ranking points can be won by participants, making it possible for the Chinese Taipei Athletics Association, the organizer of the event, to successfully invite De Grasse and Nia Ali, winner of a silver medal in the 100-meter hurdles at the Rio Olympics, and other top talents to compete in Taiwan.

Other elite athletes include Ethan Katzberg of Canada, the youngest world championship winner in the men's hammer throw, Thailand's Puripol Boonson, silver medalist in the men's 100 meters at the Asian Games, Lauren Bruce, who previously held the Oceania record in the women's hammer throw, and Sumire Hata of Japan, who won the women's long jump at the 2023 Asian Athletics Championships.

"There are so many top talents this year. Since the Olympic Games are nearing, all the athletes are trying their best to get ready," Wang Ching-cheng (王景成), general-secretary of the organizer, told CNA Monday, believing that the star-studded competition could motivate local athletes to achieve better performances.

Since 2012, the Taiwan Athletics Association has invited international athletics stars to the event, hoping that they can provide Taiwanese athletes with different experiences and encourage them to elevate their competitiveness.

The competition could also be Taiwanese athletes' last opportunity to compete on home turf while vying for a slot for Paris. The qualification period for all events except the marathon, which ended on May 5, concludes on June 30.

Other than Peng Ming-yang (彭名揚) and Lin Yu-tang (林昱堂), who have qualified in the men's 400-meter hurdles and long jump, respectively, Taiwan's men's 100 meters record holder Yang Chun-han (楊俊瀚) and male high jumper Fu Chao-hsuan (傅兆玄) still have a chances to secure an Olympic slot by accumulating more ranking points.

Meanwhile, Yeh Po-ting (葉柏廷), who set a new national record in the men's high jump with 2.30 meters at the National Intercollegiate Athletic Games on May 8, is also hoping to surpass his personal best while competing against South Korean elite athlete Woo Sanghyeok, runner-up at the 2022 World Athletic Championships.

(By Li Chien-chung and Chao Yen-hsiang)

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