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June 27, 2017

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Ma announces plan for 50 sports centers

President Ma Ying-jeou said yesterday that the government is planning to set up 50 sports centers (運動中心) across Taiwan in an effort to promote public health. The president also said that although the Olympic Games will be starting soon in London, the people of Taiwan haven't seem to take much interest in the sporting event due to the cancellation of baseball and softball as Olympic categories; however, Ma said, sports and exercise are long term activities, adding that Taiwan cannot afford to focus solely on competitive sports. We also need to focus on public health, the president said.

Ma stated that he began setting up sports centers during his tenure as Taipei mayor, and that he plans to build 50 sports centers in Taiwan. The first sports center outside of Taipei, according to the president, will be built in Xinzhuang District of New Taipei City.

During his second presidential election campaign, Ma promised to meet with civil organizations every month. This month, Ma met with members of the sports community. During the meeting, Ma said that Taiwan has hosted large-scale games such as the Deaflympics (聽障奧運) and the World Games (世界運動會), indicating that Taiwan is more than capable of holding such international events. The president also added that Taiwan has won the right to host the Summer Universiade (世界大學運動會) in 2017.

Our ability to host international sports events has increased significantly, Ma said, but in addition to competitive sports, Taiwan also needs to focus on public health. According to the Sports Affairs Council (體委會) under the Executive Yuan (行政院), 27.6 percent of the people in Taiwan exercise regularly, which represents a 3.3-percent increase since Ma first stepped into office; however, the president said, there is still room for improvement.

Ma maintained that according to a study released by Harvard University, exercising keeps people healthy both physically and mentally, adding that exercising also helps keep the brain active.

Admissions to the various sports centers in Taipei totaled more than one million every month, Ma stated, adding that the number is probably a world record. The government hopes to build 50 sports centers across the island to promote exercising among citizens, said Ma.

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