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KMT presidential candidate aims at hosting Olympics

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Taiwan will apply to host major international sports events, including the Olympics, if the opposition Kuomintang candidate Ma Ying-jeou wins the presidential election.

Unveiling his sports policy at a campaign rally in Keelung, northeast Taiwan, Ma said on Saturday he will set up 70 sports centers across Taiwan and turn the island into a sports island.

Taiwan will also systematically train athletes and seek to host international sports events, including the Olympics, he told supporters at the Keelung Gymnasium.

“We must start with less difficult ones to prove we are capable of hosing large sports events. We will apply to host the World University Games in 2015, East Asian Games in 2016, Asian Games in 2018 and Olympic Games in 2024,” he told thousands of flag-waving and shouting supporters.

Taiwan is a late starter in competitive sports and has held very few international sports events. One reason is lack of experience and facilities, the other is that China sees Taiwan as its breakaway province and does not want Taiwan to host major events as a sovereign nation.

Taiwan was expelled from the United Nations in 1971 and kicked out of UN-related organizations — and the International Olympic Committee — soon afterwards.

Since then, Taiwan has been allowed to attend international sports events under the name of Chinese-Taipei, implying Taiwan is part of China.

Under the same arrangement, when Taiwan hosts international sports events, the Taiwan team must still use the name of Chinese-Taipei and only Chinese-Taipei flags. Taiwan’s Olympic song, not Taiwan’s national anthem, must be played at these events.

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