Taiwan’s hurdling star Chen Jie aims for medal at Taipei Universiade

Taiwan’s hurdling star Chen Jie said that he is aiming for medals at the 2017 Taipei Summer Universiade in August. (photo courtesy of Taipei City Gove

TAIPEI (Taiwan News)--Taiwan’s hurdling star Chen Jie (陳傑) said during a radio station interview last week that he is aiming for medals at the 2017 Taipei Summer Universiade in August.   

The 25-year-old athlete has had two previous Universiade appearances (2011 and 2015) and two Olympic appearances (2012 and 2016).

On hurdling, Chen said during the interview that even though at first his father hoped he could become a baseball player, he was attracted to his father’s posture of sailing over the hurdles, and that attraction had dragged him into track and field athletics.      

Chen Jie (photo courtesy of Taipei City Government)

After going to high school, Chen specialized in 400m sprint and 400m hurdles and began to receive formal training. His best 400m sprint performance (46.35 seconds) set a national record, and in the 2015 National Games, he broke the national 400m hurdles record with 49.05 seconds, which qualified him for the 2016 Rio Olympics. Chen has been seen as an athletics rising star for his enormous talent and hardworking attitudes.  

In his sprint towards greatness, he has also suffered setbacks. Chen recalled having lost self-confidence when he failed to qualify for an Asian Games. He said he paid for the trip to that year’s Asian Games out of his own pocket in order to cheer for his buddies, and seeing them receive medals on the podium made him to swear: “I must make it to the next Asian Games, and for every race hereafter, I won’t only sit in the auditorium.”  

Chen Jie (photo courtesy of Taipei City Government)

 “49 seconds is not the best, but only a threshold to compete with the world,” Chen said, adding that the difference of Olympics and Universiade lies in the age restriction. The Olympics gathers all the best athletes from around the world regardless of their age and is filled with star athletes and characterized by packed auditoriums, he said.     

After the Olympic experiences, Chen said he felt more pressure at the Olympics because an Olympic athlete is in fact a national flag bearer, representing his or her own country. He said now he has learned how to enjoy competition and how to set goals, adding that he has focused on the upcoming Taipei Universiade and hoped to peak for the event.     

Chen said Universiade athletes are more passionate and have more interaction with each other. The athletes’ cafeteria is like a social place, he said, recalling seeing a group of athletes dancing on dining tables. After the event, athletes of different countries exchanged clothes and souvenirs and turned the moment after the sporting event was over into a boisterous international flea market, Chen said, adding that he was looking forward to the coming of the Taipei Universiade.   

As for the home court advantage, Chen said he will use it to focus more on the competition since he won’t have to worry about food, weather, and time differences. He said he hoped to maintain his best physical conditions, put out his best efforts, and retain medals in Taiwan, calling on the public to come to cheer not only for him but also for athletics and for Taiwan.