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September 22, 2017

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Medal not stripped at RoboCup: MOFA

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) yesterday refuted rumors claiming that the authorities of the annual RoboCup had intentionally "stripped" the Taiwanese team of its gold medal.

Several media outlets reported on Tuesday that one of the two teams competing in the 2014 RoboCup was disqualified before its final match in the standard platform league. The other team competing in the small robot league had already received a gold medal.

MOFA stated yesterday that the RoboCup authorities had explained that its actions were not made to target Taiwan, and that they thought the misunderstanding "regrettable."

Taiwan's representative office in St. Paul, Brazil reported that it had received complaints from the team members' parents after the games had ended, but after further communication from the office, the event organizers — a combination of temporary service teams in a nongovernmental organization — finally issued a response, said MOFA spokeswoman Anna Kao (高安).

The organizers noted that the rules for the robot soccer games applied to every team, and the disqualification was not biased or targeted at Taiwan, said Kao. The representative office also pointed out that the organizers did not receive notification that there would be a Taiwanese team at the games, also reminding Taiwanese people to contact the representative office beforehand if assistance is needed in the future, Kao added.

According to news channel TVBS, the team competing in the standard platform league was performing remarkably well and had the highest accumulative score until it was told that it did not meet the qualifications to compete in the final round. A parent of one of the team members allegedly claimed that the team was "stripped of the gold medal because the event organizer explained that it hoped for the gold medals to be distributed evenly instead of going to the same team."

The team eventually received a silver medal for "team competition." The two teams consisted of eight junior high school and high school students from seven schools including Saint Francis High School, Chenggong High School, Zhongzheng Junior High School, that had headed to Brazil to compete in the robot soccer games.

The RoboCup is an annual international robotics competition founded in 1997, with the goal to promote robotics and research into artificial intelligence by offering challenges while making the games exciting as well.

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