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September 21, 2017

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Taipei to host 2017 Summer Universiade

Triumphing over the strong opponent of Brazil's capital, Taipei has won the right to host the 2017 Summer Universiade, the games committee announced Tuesday in Brussels.

 "We would like to express our sincere appreciation to the FISU (International University Sports Federation) for choosing Taipei as the host city," said Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin, who led a delegation to Brussels for Taipei's bid.

 "There's an old saying, 'Where there is a will, there is a way.' This is the fifth time we've taken part in the bidding and we have finally made it," he added.

 He said Taipei won the bid because it had success hosting several big international events such as the 2009 Deaflympics and the 2010 Taipei International Flora Expo.

 Saying the victory was not easy and the competition was fierce, Hau praised Brasilia as a strong and respected competitor.

 However, the mayor added that the joy over the city's acquisition of the right to host the Universiade should be put aside as the country will have to start preparations for the international event as soon as possible.

 FISU President Claude-Louis Gallien expressed confidence in Taipei's ability to host the Universiade in 2017.

 "And we know that certainly this Universiade can be a very good Universiade, so we are confident in the people that presented that bid and we are confident that Taipei City will offer us the best conditions," Gallien said.

 He also praised the people of Taiwan as "strong" and "courageous" for having bid five times to host the World University Games.

 Taiwan's second-largest city Kaohsiung has made three unsuccessful bids, the last in 2007 for the 2011 games, and Taipei in 2009 bid unsuccessfully for the rights to the 2015 Summer Universiade.

 Minister of the Cabinet-level Sports Affairs Council Tai Hsia-ling said this is an historic moment for Taiwan since it will be holding the most prestigious, largest-ever multi-sports event in the country.

Solid Finance Plan and Infrastructure Win the Bid

Chen Tai-cheng (陳太正), a Taiwanese executive committee member of the FISU, said the main reason for Taipei to win the bid over Brasilia is that the city already has 85 percent of the facilities and venues in place, while Brasilia has completed only 55 percent, he noted.

 Taipei also proposed a solid financial plan for the major sports event, Chen told reporters.

Meanwhile, back in Taiwan, President Ma Ying-jeou expressed excitement after hearing the news.

 Ma believes that hosting the event can further boost Taiwan's international visibility and elevate local athletes' skills, said Presidential spokesman Fan Chiang Tai-chi (范姜泰基) yesterday.

According to Taipei's estimate, the 2017 event will give Taipei's economy a major economic uplift, said Deputy Taipei Mayor Chen Hsiung-wen (陳雄文) yesterday in a press conference.

 "The event is expected to deliver a sustained stimulus worth a total of NT$5 billion to NT$10 billion to the local economy during its two-week span," Chen noted.

 Launched in the Italian city of Turin in 1959, the Universiade is a biennial sports event for 12,000-plus university athletes from more than 160 countries.

 At the 2011 Summer Universiade in Shenzhen, China, Taiwan won 32 medals — seven gold, nine silver, and 16 bronze.

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