TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) welcomed home the athletes of Taiwan's most successful Asian Games campaign in 20 years, with a reception at the Presidential Office in Taipei on Sept. 4, reported CNA.
Hundreds of Taiwan's athletes were greeted by a "sword gate" to symbolize glory, according to CNA.
Taiwanese athletes walking through "sword gate". (CNA image)
During the 2018 Asian Games, Taiwan recorded 17 gold, 19 silver, and 31 bronze medals. For this effort, Taiwan was ranked seventh overall and the gold medal tally was highest since the 1998 Asian Games in Bangkok.
En route home from Indonesia, the athletes were escorted by two F-16 fighter jets as part of a hero's welcome.
"Today you are the distinguished guests of the country and the guests of the Presidential Office. Today you are the most important person in the country" said Tsai. In relation to population, Taiwan is a sporting powerhouse in the region, according to Tsai.
Tsai also recognized the efforts of support staff like coaches, physiotherapists, and dietitians. "They are not fighting players on the court, but their importance is irreplaceable" said Tsai.
Tsai addressing the athletes. (CNA image)
Tsai said that for the 2018 Asian Games campaign, the government had allocated more funds, and this cash was used on a chartered flight, better accommodation, and funding for support staff. Tsai said this level of government support was the baseline, and the government is keenly looking forward to future success at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
In terms of funding, Tsai said the government would accelerate their pledge to double the funding allocated to sport.
Taiwanese discus thrower and shot putter, Chang Min-Huang (张铭煌) was singled out for his continued service and performance, since first representing Taiwan at the World Youth Championships back in 1999.
"Thank you for winning the honor for the country, thank you for letting the world see Taiwan, the country is great because of you" said Tsai.
"This country is great because of you" (CNA image)
Tsai posing with athletes. (CNA image)