Taekwondo popularity boosts Chinese Taipei in worlds

Updated: 2007-05-21 08:25

Baseball is still the No.1 sport in Taiwan, but taekwondo is more profitable for amateurs in the island of China.

Ho Wei-Hsing, head coach of the Chinese Taipei team in the World Taekwondo Championships, said in Beijing Sunday that more and more people in Taiwan are learning taekwondo and that's the reason for Chinese Taipei to become a taekwondo powerhouse in the world.

"Almost all the preliminary schools have taekwondo classes. In some schools and colleges, taekwondo is the premier sport over baseball and basketball, which are usually the most popular sports in Taiwan," Ho said.

The Chinese Taipei won one gold, one silver and one bronze medals after two days of the world championships, so far second to the powerhouse South Korea on the medal table.

Sung Yu-Chi, who won Saturday the gold medal in the men's 72kg, is a professor of the China's University Culture in Taipei.

"Many of the taekwondo athletes are highly-educated persons, who like to be amatuers.

"We had put much efforts on professional athletes on the sport previously, but now many teachers and professors join in, and teach taekwondo in schools. And they make good money on promoting the sport," Ho added.

Chu Mu-Yen, champion of the 58kg event in 2004 Athens Olympic Games, is also a professor in Taiwan and on his way for a PHD.

"Taekwondo teaches children to be strong, honest, polite and advocates never-give-up spirit, which is the key reason why it's so popular in Taiwan."

Sung said, "Taekwondo is not a pure sport. It's more like real life. Top players are differed not by techniques and experiences, but by their knowledge, understanding of the life and the way they face the world. That may be the reason why so many educated persons like the sport."

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