Taiwan to invest NT$6.4 billion nurturing sports talent: Premier Lai

The funding will be used to provide aid to athletes pursuing a sports career

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Premier Lai hosts welcome reception for Asian Games athletes (Photo by Lai's FB)

Premier Lai hosts welcome reception for Asian Games athletes (Photo by Lai's FB)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – A budget of NT$6.4 billion (US$206 million) will be set aside to cultivate athletes in Taiwan over a course of ten years through holistic education and career management, Premier William Lai (賴清德) announced Sept. 4.

In a Facebook post, Lai said he was deeply moved by the all-out effort given by Taiwanese athletes at the Asian Games in Indonesia, which saw Taiwan rank 7th out of 45 participating countries on the medal table, hauling 17 golds, 19 silvers, and 31 bronzes.

The international sports event has provided insight into three perspectives, Lai noted.

First, Taiwan has proven its mettle in the field of sports, evidenced by the fact that it has for the first time clinched gold in gymnastics, archery, badminton, dragon boat, and karate from Asian Games ever held. With the wholehearted support of the Taiwanese people and logistical assistance from the government, the athletes were able to perform under the perfect conditions.

Second, the time has become ripe for Taiwan to further sports education and training with the approval of the Outstanding Athletes Incentive Plan, which will see NT$6.4 billion allocated to help students with athletic potential cope with issues regarding schooling, career management, among other aspects.

He added that an overall review of the country’s coaching system is necessary and that incentive measures will be implemented to ensure the hard work of coaches is acknowledged.

Finally, the conclusion of the Asian Games signals the beginning of a new stage, Lai reckoned. The government will work to create a sound environment for sports development by meeting the needs of athletes and offer adequate support as the country prepares for the challenge of the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Lai pledged.