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Home Editorials of Interest Taipei Times Deaflympic hubris — courtesy of the Ma team

Deaflympic hubris — courtesy of the Ma team

During a flag-presentation ceremony for the 21st Summer Deaflympics on Wednesday last week, President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) said that during his term as Taipei mayor, Olympic medalist Chi Cheng (紀政) called to ask if he was willing to launch a bid to host the Deaflympics. Ma said he agreed on the spot.

This remark betrays Ma’s tendency to lie and spuriously claim credit for himself.

Chinese Taipei Sports Association of the Deaf (CTSAD) secretary-general Chao Yu-ping (趙玉平) published an open letter on Oct. 17, 2007, when he resigned as chairman of the organizing committee for the Deaflympics. He could not bear to be associated with a soulless, failed Deaflympics, so he decided to leave the job to which he had devoted himself for six years.

The official Web site of the CTSAD also published a journal that Chao wrote in Frankfurt, Germany, entitled “Strive for peace through sports — the process of bidding for and organizing the 2009 Summer Deaflympics.” Below is a summary.

In March 2002, the CTSAD submitted a proposal to the Sports Affairs Council for bidding to host the Deaflympics, and it soon received approval. Later, the CTSAD was required by the International Committee of Sports for the Deaf (ICSD) to apply for proof from the council, the Chinese Taipei Olympic Committee and the Taipei City Government that they agreed to host the Games. While both the council and the committee provided the requested documents quickly, the city government refused to do so because it said the budget for the Deaflympics would be enough to hold the International Dragon Boat Festival 10 times over.

Before the application for the bid was due on June 30, Chao contacted Lee Ying-yuan (李應元) — the Democratic Progressive Party candidate in the then Taipei mayoral election campaign — through Chi Cheng. Lee offered his support for the bid. Upon learning this news, Ma’s city administration suddenly took an active interest in the matter — but the deadline had passed.

In November that year, John Lovett, president of the ICSD, visited Taiwan. The sports council covered all his expenses. During Lovett’s stay, Chao arranged a meeting between Lovett and then-president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), as well as the sports council chairman, the interior minister, the Chinese Taipei Olympic Committee president and then-Taipei deputy mayor Pai Hsiou-hsiung (白秀雄).

In early 2003, the government sent a delegation led by Pai to attend an ICSD convention in Sweden. However, the Taipei City Government covered only the expenses of its own staffers; the sports council had to cover expenses for CTSAD personnel and promotional costs.

On the day of voting, Taipei City won the bid by garnering 52 ballots over Athens, which received 32 ballots.

It had been planned that after the delegation returned to Taiwan, the sports council, the Taipei City Government and the CTSAD would hold a joint press conference to announce the good news. Instead, the city government called an early press conference for itself and claimed all the credit.

After the organizing committee for the 2009 Deaflympics was set up, Chao was responsible for all preparations and arrangements. When he made an inspection tour of Melbourne in 2005, it was the sports council that covered all expenses. Taipei City only changed its attitude toward the Deaflympics and took the initiative to meet Chao to discuss matters after Kaohsiung City went all out in preparation for the 2009 World Games, receiving wide media coverage and public support in the process.

This is the real story of the 21st Summer Deaflympics in Taipei.

Hsu Chien-jung is a doctoral candidate at Monash University in Australia.


Source: Taipei Times - Editorials 2009/09/10

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