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OLYMPICS/Lai presents Olympic flag, urges athletes to strive for medals

07/09/2024 04:21 PM
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President Lai Ching-te delivers a speech at the National Sports Training Center in Kaohsiung Tuesday. CNA photo July 9, 2024
President Lai Ching-te delivers a speech at the National Sports Training Center in Kaohsiung Tuesday. CNA photo July 9, 2024

Kaohsiung, July 9 (CNA) President Lai Ching-te (賴清德) handed over the Olympic flag to the national team of Taiwan and awarded it a bonus of NT$200,000 (US$6,147) at a ceremony in Kaohsiung on Tuesday, weeks ahead of the opening of the Olympic Games in Paris, France.

Speaking at the National Sports Training Center in the southern city, Lai congratulated 60 athletes on earning tickets to the Paris Olympics, scheduled from July 26 to Aug. 11, to compete in 16 sports categories, including shooting, archery, badminton, table tennis, and boxing, among others.

This is the result of tireless training by all the competing players, Lai said, emphasizing the government's commitment to supporting Taiwanese athletes as they pursue their achievements as well as bring glory to the nation.

He noted that the support provided for the national team in Paris would be "more extensive" than before, including a canteen offering Taiwanese cuisine, a training facility in the French capital for the exclusive use of Taiwanese athletes, and a medical station with hyperbaric oxygen therapy equipment.

The president urged the athletes to "not hesitate" and "just bring home the medals," noting that in the previous Olympic Games in Tokyo in 2021, the national team bagged a total of 12 medals, including two golds, four silvers and six bronzes.

CNA photo July 9, 2024
CNA photo July 9, 2024

Lai's remarks came after he presented the Olympic flag to Lin Hong-dow (林鴻道), president of the Chinese Taipei Olympic Committee, at the ceremony marking the national team's readiness for leaving for Paris.

The president also awarded the NT$200,000 bonus to the national team, which was received by weightlifter Chen Wen-huei (陳玟卉), who won a bronze medal in the women's 64 kg event at the Tokyo Olympics, on the team's behalf.

Taiwan has competed in international sports events under the name of "Chinese Taipei" without using the flag and anthem of the Republic of China, its official name, to avoid the ire of Beijing, which considers Taiwan part of Chinese territory.

(By Li Chien-chung and Teng Pei-ju)

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