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September 25, 2017

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Taiwanese athletes strut stuff in front of the world

The Chinese Taipei team made their entrance at the London Games opening ceremony as the 180th team yesterday. Led by the flag bearer, weightlifter Chen Shih-chieh (陳士杰), the Taiwan Olympic Committee flag waved in the winds as roughly 40 athletes and team staff members greeted the audience.

Sporting silver-gray suits, the team marched proudly into the stadium, snapping pictures of the epic moment. Some female athletes paired their skirts with sneakers in an unabashed display of their athleticism.

The Parade of Nations traditionally begins with the team from Greece, where the Olympics event originated. A flag bearer, chosen by the National Olympic Committee or athletes themselves, holds the flag of each nation to lead their team into the stadium. Among this year's flag bearers were NBA All-Star Pau Gasol representing Spain and tennis player Maria Sharapova representing Russia.

This year, after all 205 teams had made their entrances, 7 billion pieces of confetti were dropped into the stadium, representing the world's population coming together for the global event.

There are 44 athletes from Taiwan taking part in 14 events this year, including badminton, tennis, archery and taekwondo.

The taekwondo athletes were not among the group joining Chinese Taipei's formal entrance. Since the taekwondo competition does not begin until Aug. 8, participants were not scheduled to arrive until Aug. 2.

2008 Olympic taekwondo athlete Yang Shu-chun said, "It's no big deal. I'm used to it. Usually I'm just happy we get to attend the closing ceremony."

Rookie Wei Chen Yang chimed in, "No disappointment. I like Taiwan better."

Badminton players Cheng Wen-hsin (程文欣) and Chen Hung-ling (陳宏麟) have gained victory over the Malaysia team, Chan Peng-soon and Goh Liu-ying, in the mixed doubles competition. Teams competing in the mixed doubles are grouped from A to D, with the Taiwanese team in Group D along with Thailand and China.

Teams will compete with every pair in the group to determine the top eight, which in turn will compete in the knockout stage of the competition to decide the medal winners.

The Chinese Taipei men's archery team was eliminated yesterday while the women's team ranks third in their division and will be competing in the quarterfinals.

Both of Taiwan's top-ranked men's and women's tennis players, Lu Yen-hsun and Hsieh Su-wei, were eliminated Saturday.

Lu was defeated 7-6, 6-4, 6-3 by Malek Jaizi of Tunisia late Saturday Taiwan time.

Hsieh mounted a stunning comeback against Peng Shuai of China in a first-round match before falling to the world No. 29 6-3, 6-7 (3), 7-5 in just over two and a half hours.

The 26-year-old fell behind 6-3, 4-1 to her better-known rival and seemed consigned to a straightforward defeat.

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