The Power of Asia "Tokyo Olympics Special": Chinese Taipei
Badminton Asia (BA) is back with our ‘The Power of Asia Series’, where we interview our Member Associations (MAs) to get insight into badminton's growth in the country.
As we welcome the Tokyo 2020 Olympic, we created a special “Road to Tokyo Olympics” series where we have a conversation with some of our MAs to learn and get more in-depth knowledge about their badminton development and preparations for this year's Olympics. This time, we had the privilege of interviewing with the Chinese Taipei Badminton Association.
With many top quality players such as Tai Tzu Ying, Chou Tien Chen, Wang Tzu-wei and more, Chinese Taipei is at the forefront of badminton’s present and future success. Read further below and join us in our discussion with Mr. Chang Kuo-Tso, The President of Chinese Taipei Badminton Association and Mr. Chih-Shen Chen, Technical Committee Chairman on their current programs and targets for the players and technical officials in preparation for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
Below is the interview with Mr. Chang Kuo-Tso, The President of Chinese Taipei Badminton Association:
Badminton Asia (BA): How popular is badminton in your country?
President of Chinese Taipei Badminton Association, Chang Kuo-Tso (CKT): Due to the outstanding performance of Tai Tzu Ying and Chou Tien Chen on the international stage, there is a huge growth of badminton participation in Taiwan. With our promotion of badminton, the participation of the population of each national tournament from primary school level to university level, has risen to 2000 people. And with the help and support of 22 regional badminton associations, we are able to host many national tournaments and promote badminton. Besides, we have 6 professional teams which are home to our elite national players.
Thanks to the effort made by people who are involved in badminton, the population of badminton participation is nearly 3 million in Taiwan, and about 60 official and regional tournaments are held each year. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, we have at least 1 tournament a week. Badminton has become one of the most popular sports in Taiwan.
BA: Chinese Taipei is home to many top players like Tai Tzu Ying etc. Since when has there been a rise in top players from Taiwan?
CKT: Taiwan has started “the Golden Plan” right after the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. This plan aims to pick athletes who have the potential to win Olympic medals, and build a professional team including coaches, physiotherapists, trainers, which is customized for each athlete.
From the end of 2016, Tai Tzu Ying has secured the world no.1 spot for 166 weeks, this is the longest record in badminton history. And Chou Tien Chen steadily ranked in top 4, Wang Tzu Wei ranked 10th. As for the men’s doubles, Lee Yang and Wang Chi Lin won three championships in a row in the 2021 Thailand Opens and BWF 2020 final tour, and their ranking rose to world no. 3.
BA: What programs do you have that help foster badminton skills for young players?
CKT: Our association executes a potential plan and budget to cultivate the badminton skills for the younger generation. We have started the plan to target the medals in the 2024 and 2028 Olympic Games.
And we host national tournaments to pick the potential young players from U15 to U19. Besides, we plan to develop the potential of players of U13 and U11 in the future, and we will try to enhance the connection between young players in Asia by training and participating in foreign countries.
BA: Speaking of top players, 5 of them (Tai Tzu Ying, Chou Tien Chen, Wang Tzu-wei, Lee Yang, Wang Chi-lin) have qualified for the Tokyo Olympics. So far Chinese Taipei hasn’t won any medal in Olympics badminton -- how confident are you in getting any medal in badminton at the Tokyo Olympics this year?
CKT: As the climate, food and geographical location of the host city is similar to Taiwan, Taiwanese athletes don’t have to overcome the jet lag and huge cultural difference, which is a huge benefit for our national team. And players including Tai Tzu Ying, Chou Tien Chen and men’s doubles pair Lee Yang and Wang Chi Lin all have the potential and possibility to win the gold medals.
Our target for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games is 1 gold, 1 silver, and 1 bronze medal, and we are confident to win at least 1 medal.
BA: How has the preparations been for the Olympics during this pandemic?
CKT: In order to prepare for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, we cooperated with the national sport training center to host test events which provide a similar atmosphere and competition for athletes. Professional physiotherapists and trainers also play important roles in enhancing competitiveness and body recovery. Besides, all athletes who are qualified to participate in the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games have completed the COVID-19 vaccination.
We will also provide Kaohsiung Arena for players to train without difficulty and adapt to the wind and space of the competition venue which is similar to that of the Olympic Games.
BA: What are your targets for the Tokyo Olympics and the next Olympics?
CKT: The goal of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics is to win the gold medal in women's singles and get top three for men's singles and doubles. As for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games, the goal is to participate in five events and get top three.
BA: If there’s another country lockdown in your country, will that be an obstacle for you to travel to the Olympics?
CKT: There’s no effect on our team if the country goes into lockdown. For those Olympic players, we have already arranged vaccinations, as well as chartered flights. Exclusive personnel will assist the team to attend Tokyo Olympic and Cooperate with relevant epidemic measures for the games.
BA: What are your goals for the federation and for the sport in the future?
CKT: I’m the Vice President of Badminton Asia and Mr. Chih Shen Chen our Technical Committee Chairman, we both work hard to promote badminton not only in Taiwan but in Asia. Moreover, to let more countries notice Taiwan through badminton, we take the initiative to cooperate with Asia badminton family.
Hope we can become the badminton center of Asia in the future by hosting more international tournaments. Furthermore, to associate various countries' leagues to compose Asian professional competition. And what we’d like to do is to increase the value of badminton more economically. The most important wish however, is for badminton to become the most successful sport in Taiwan.
Badminton Asia then had the privilege of interviewing Mr. Chih-Shen Chen, Technical Committee Chairman, where we got insight on the preparations for the Olympics for the technical officials. Below is the transcript:
BA: How are all the technical officials (umpires, linesmen etc) preparing for the Tokyo Olympics?
Technical Committee Chairman, Chih-Shen Chen (CSC): Participating in the Olympic Games is a dream for all the technical officials. Therefore the nominated technical officials are no doubt, the most experienced ones. Ever since they’ve been nominated for this glorious task, a series of preparations and work, both practically and also theoretically, are waiting for them. These tasks include officiating in BWF major events and also Olympic past events to gain more major events experience and also to feel the atmosphere. Also, many of the TO workshops were arranged to keep them updated on the badminton law and the technical official instructions.
BA: Are there any differences in their preparations? And do you have a number of how many Chinese Taipei officials will be traveling to the Olympics?
CSC: As you know, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, things are different. Most of the badminton events are either postponed or cancelled, so are all our TO activities. Therefore instead of so-called onsight practical training, Badminton Asia TOC has arranged a series of virtual courses for them. The purpose of this is to keep them updated and when the pandemic situation is relieved, they are ready for the challenge. So in different situations we use different ways.
However in this tough period, some of our TO had to withdraw from the Olympics, some because of family concerns and some for work concerns. However, generally speaking most are still on the right track and I’m looking forward to seeing their performance to get this job done.
And talking about the Chinese Taipei TOs participating in the Olympics, we are very honored to say that we have David Cheung, and will work as a deputy referee for the Olympic games. We also have umpires and line judges that will participate in the Olympics as well. That is our big step for Chinese Taipei; for our TOs to join the Olympics.
After interviewing and hearing from both Mr. Chang Kuo-Tso and Mr. Chih-Shen Chen, Badminton Asia can confidently say that Chinese Taipei continues to be at the forefront of badminton’s journey in becoming a top sport on the world stage. Not only do they have world class players on the Olympic stages already, but they also have built a solid foundation at home to help support these players and to build future world class players as well.
Badminton Asia hopes that badminton will continue to prosper in the country and that Chinese Taipei continues to produce more top players that compete at the international stage. We hope that their Olympic targets will be achieved this coming Olympic Games. To conclude, below is the closing remarks from Mr. Chang Kuo-Tso, on behalf of the Chinese Taipei Badminton Association:
“After the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, we will host the Taipei Open and our President would like to invite all of our Asian family to join the Taipei Open and we are very sure that we can – we have the good policy to face the pandemic so we’ll surely invite everyone. Thank you. And we will make sure that the athletes who come to Taiwan are safe and able to play badminton.”