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Funding, policy, legislative support help Taiwan's athletes shine at Tokyo Olympics

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Following a briefing at Thursday's Cabinet meeting by the Ministry of Education on the training and accomplishments of Taiwan's Tokyo Olympics competitors, Premier Su Tseng-chang thanked the athletes for their brilliant performance. The games this year have seen Taiwan score its highest medal count in history.

Taiwan's Olympic team has already won a total of 11 medals (some shared among multiple athletes): two gold, four silver, and five bronze. This is over three times the three medals won at the Rio Olympics in 2016, and more than twice as many as the five claimed at the 2004 Athens games, Taiwan's previously best-performing medal count, said Premier Su.

The dedication and exertions of the individual competitors in achieving this success has been augmented to great effect by government efforts, including supplying the proper environment, training and care for athletes, as well as funding, policy and legislative grounding. The budget for sports and recreation rose sharply from NT$8 billion (US$288 million) in 2016 to this year's NT$13.4 billion (US$482.3 million). Additional funds of nearly NT$10 billion (US$360 million) were invested with the implementation of the second and third phases of a national training infrastructure plan in 2016 and 2019, respectively, which provided more professional training facilities, an improved resting environment, and a higher level of consideration for Taiwan's national team and personnel.

In preparation for the Tokyo Olympics, Taiwan launched a four-year, NT$1.2 billion (US$43.2 million) Gold Plan in 2018 that provided athletes with customized training and dedicated team support, including trainers, injury prevention personnel, physical therapists, training partners, and even sports mechanics and intelligence analysis. Under this plan, all 38 athletes selected for focused training qualified for the Olympics, so far 19 of whom have finished in the top eight, and 12 of whom have medaled in their respective competitions. This success is attributable to the nation's training strategy, which will also be implemented for the 2024 Olympics to be held in Paris, the premier said.

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