TAIPEI (Taiwan News)—Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA) held a press conference on Monday (Oct. 16) in Italy after the Italian professional volleyball team it sponsors finished the first match under the new title--"Taiwan Excellence Latina.”
Latina played against Calzedonia Verona, ranked 5th in Italy last year, on Monday. The 14th-ranked Latina fought to the fifth set, but lost by only two points.
According to TAITRA, nearly 1,000 Italian fans turned out to root for Latina, waving a towel with the “Taiwan Excellence” logo.
TAITRA Chairman James Huang (黃志芳) said that as soon as he took the post of TAITRA Chairperson, he directed the organization to strive for innovation, and this is the first time in the 26 years of promoting Taiwan Excellence products that the namesake becomes the title sponsor of an international sports team.
Taiwan Excellence is an award established by Taiwan’s Ministry of Economic Affairs in 1993 to honor outstanding Taiwanese products.
Taiwan Excellence Latina consists of such famous players as Cristian Savani, Erik Shoji, Yūki Ishikawa, Sasha Starovic, and Taiwan’s Huang Pei-hung (黃培閎).
Italian politician Paola de Micheli praised Taiwan’s wisdom for choosing Latina, saying it is not easy for a team to stay in consecutive competition for 47 years, which is older than her age.
James Huang said another reason why TAITRA chose Latina was because Taiwan’s Huang Pei-hung was picked by Latina and TAITRA wants to show its support for him while promoting Taiwan’s image and Taiwan Excellence products in Italy.
Huang Pei-hung said he has been in Italy for two months and has been adapting and getting along with his teammates very well. He added that even though he didn’t play on Monday night, he was proud of his teammates’ performance and hoped he could score points for Taiwan Excellence Latina soon.
James Huang said the sportscaster kept calling out “Sasha, Sasha,” who scored often during Monday’s match, and therefore “many Taiwanese friends kept calling me to ask who Sasha is. So now Sasha has become a hero for Taiwan.” The TAITRA chairman added, “About 120,000 people watch the live broadcast last night. From now on, Italy and Latina have deepened their relationship with Taiwan."