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President apologizes after Taiwan's Olympic athletes made to fly economy

Badminton champion Tai Tzu-ying upset about budget cabin seating

Taiwanese athletes heading for Tokyo Olympics (Instagram, Tsai Ing-wen)

Taiwanese athletes heading for Tokyo Olympics (Instagram, Tsai Ing-wen)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) issued an apology on Monday (July 19) over the blunder that saw Taiwan’s Olympic athletes, including the world's No. 1 badminton player Tai Tzu-ying (戴資穎), flying to Tokyo in economy class.

In an Instagram post, Tai said she missed heading to international contests in business class via EVA Air. Her father told the media that “it doesn’t feel good being cheated,” referring to sports officials going back on their promise of spacious cabin seats.

Tsai expressed regret that her promise to allow athletes competing in international competitions to fly in business class had not been fulfilled. She stressed that athletes who compete for the honor of the country deserve to be treated with more thoughtfulness.

The bungled arrangement has drawn criticism from across the political spectrum since Legislator Claire Wang (王婉諭) revealed on Monday evening that the 36 business class seats on the chartered flight had all been reserved for coaches, doctors, Olympic committee members, and sports officials, reported ETToday.

Education Minister Pan Wen-chung (潘文忠) and Sports Administration Director-General Chang Shao-hsi (張少熙) rushed to apologize over the incident, citing reasons that included limited availability of business class seats and COVID-19 prevention needs, wrote CNA.

Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) has ordered an investigation into the incident, pledging to hold officials accountable for neglecting their duties.