By Shelley Shan / Staff reporter
More than 50 athletes and coaches yesterday urged the public to vote “no” to the referendum on whether Taiwan should compete under the name “Taiwan” instead of “Chinese Taipei” in the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.
The news conference at the Sports Administration was organized by the Chinese Taipei Olympians Association, formed by athletes who have represented the nation at the Olympics.
It was also attended by some of the nation’s most famous athletes, including 1988 Taekwondo gold medalist Chen Yi-an （陳怡安）, two-time weightlifting Olympic gold medalist Hsu Shu-ching （許淑淨）, and Yang Chun-han （楊俊瀚） and Cheng Chao-tsun （鄭兆村）, who were gold medalists at last year’s Taipei Summer Universiade, as well as the nation’s No. 1 men’s badminton player and Asian Games medalist Chou Tien-chen （周天成）.
Association secretary-general Tu Tai-hsing （杜台興） was a shooter and was chosen to represent the nation six times at the Olympics.
However, he was not able to compete in the 1976 Montreal Olympic Games, because the nation was not allowed to attend for political reasons, and the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games, because the government decided to withdraw.
Those who proposed the name-change referendum did not conduct a survey among athletes first, Tu said.
Chou questioned the claim made by name-change advocates who say that the result of the referendum would not hurt athletes’ chances to compete in the Games.
“It is like a dentist who tells you that there will not be any pain when he pulls out your tooth. Well, the pain is borne by the patient, not the dentist,” Chou said.
Shooter Lin Yi-chun （林怡君）, who was chosen for the Olympic national team four times, also opposes the name-change movement.
“We athletes are clear about the difference between our national flag and the Olympic flag,” Lin said.
“However, the only thing that can actually protect athletes’ right to compete is the 1981 agreement signed between the International Olympic Committee [IOC] and the Chinese Taipei Olympic Committee [CTOC] in Lausanne, Switzerland,” Lin said.
The Lausanne Agreement states that Taiwan can compete under the name “Chinese Taipei.”
The administration’s position has always been to protect athletes’ right to compete, to ensure that the CTOC’s membership at the IOC is not affected and to abide by the Olympic Charter, Sports Administration Deputy Director-General Wang Shui-wen （王水文） said.
“Taiwan is a democratic country and the government has followed the law in hosting a referendum so that the public’s opinions can be expressed. Nevertheless, the government still needs to follow the rules set by the IOC,” he said.
Athletes at an event organized by the Chinese Taipei Olympians Association in Taipei yesterday hold signs opposing the referendum on whether Taiwan should compete under the name “Taiwan” instead of “Chinese Taipei” in the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. Photo: Peter Lo, Taipei Times
Weightlifter Hsu Shu-ching, center, and other athletes take part in a news conference organized by the Chinese Taipei Olympians Association in Taipei yesterday in opposition to a referendum proposal to change the name of Taiwan’s team at the Tokyo Olympic Games. Photo: Peter Lo, Taipei Times