Taiwan's president urges athletes to learn from South Korea

Society Materials 26 August 2008 11:43 (UTC +04:00)

Taiwan's President Ma Ying-jeou Tuesday urged the country, which did poorly at the Beijing Olympics, to learn from South Korea in training its athletes, reported dpa.

Ma praised Taiwan's athletes for trying their best at the August 8 8-24 Beijing Olympics.

"But sports reflects a country's power. South Korea, whose population is similar to Taiwan's population, did extremely well at the Beijing Olympics. So we have a long way to go," he said when receiving the Taiwan team.

The island won only four bronze medals at the games, ranking 72nd among the 104 countries and regions who took part in the event, while South Korea came eighth with 31 medals - including 13 golds.

"While investing more into competitive sports, we must also help our citizens to get into the habit of taking up sports," he said.

Ma noted that Taiwan people were "very disappointed" with the performance of Taiwan's baseball team, which came fifth out of eight teams competing and lost even to China where baseball is not regularly played.

Taiwan sent 80 athletes to the Games, hoping to win seven golds or at least to better its record at the 2004 Athens Olympics when Taiwan picked up five medals - two golds, two silvers and one bronze.

Some Taiwan athletes and coaches blame Taiwan's lack of a training system for the island's failure to win medals in international sports events, but they also disapprove of China's military training system, calling it too harsh and inhuman.