Forty-nine Outstanding Special Olympics Athletes Worldwide Will be Competing in Taipei
|Tournament Chairman-Ms. Eily Ho and five of Taiwan's top LPGA pros support for "2009 Special Olympics International Golf Tournament." Left to right: Teresa Lu, Candie Kung, Lin Yu-ping, Ms. Eily Ho, Tseng Yani and Amy Hung (Photo courtesy of KH Golf Foundation)|
Oct. 12, 2009, Taipei - Over a period of 5 days from October 12 to October 16, 2009, a new page in the history of Taiwanese golf development will be written when 10 teams of 49 leading Special Olympics athletes from all over the world meet in Taipei to compete together at the Pei Tou Kuo Hua Golf and Country Club. Five of Taiwan's top LPGA (Ladies Professional Golf Association) pros playing in the US - Yani Tseng, Teresa Lu, Candie Kung, Amy Hung and Yu Ping Lin - attended the press conference that was held today to mark the beginning of the event, bearing witness to this historic milestone in the local golf history. Besides attending the press conference, the five professional golfers will also be present at the competition to give demonstrations, offer advice, and share their experience with the athletes.
Tournament Chairman, Eily Ho, who is also the Chairman of Kuo Hua Golf Foundation and has been playing a major role in bringing this event about said, "I am delighted that these five leading Taiwanese players from the LPGA will be attending the Special Olympics International Golf Tournament to offer encouragement to the players. Although they have all been playing in the U.S. for a long while, their love for Taiwan remains as strong as ever. When they heard that we were organizing this special competition, the five players immediately expressed their desire to assist with the event, despite some of the potential schedule conflicts this might cause. I was deeply moved by their enthusiasm. I am sure that all golf enthusiasts will remember this historic moment. This is our opportunity to show the world that Taiwan is capable of hosting a major international golf tournament. I hope that in the future there will be many more such opportunities to strengthen Taiwan's international visibility."
Besides the five Taiwanese stars from the LPGA and numerous government officials, today's press conference was also attended by Bai Xiu-xiong, Tournament President and Chairman of Special Olympics Chinese Taipei; Hau Lung-bin, Taipei City Mayor and Honorary Vice President for the Tournament and Anna Chan, Managing Director of Special Olympics East Asia.
Bai mentioned, "The experience of participating in the Special Olympics and other sports events can help intellectual disabilities and their families become more independent. Sports not only improve their physical health but also develop skills that they can use throughout their lives. It especially encourages people to become more outward-looking, while the applause the athletes receive helps boost their self-confidence. I hope that the holding of this event will give people in Taiwan a better understanding of Special Olympics, and that it will encourage more families with intellectual disabilities to stop hiding from the society and try to find more vehicles to develop their potential."
Mayor Hau then stressed, "This year is Taipei's International Sports Year. Following on from the Summer Deaflympics, we are now playing host to the Special Olympics International Golf Tournament. The athletes demonstrate Special Olympics spirit by their courage and persistence and inspire all of us to reach to the unreachable. I am sure that every Taiwanese is looking forward eagerly to seeing the athletes' outstanding performances on the course. Self-confidence is the most important asset anyone can possess! Jia yo!"
Foreign athletes who have come to Taiwan to take part in the Tournament are all top golf players. South Africa's Thomas Lugg and Ireland's Oliver Doherty, who are taking part in the Level 5 competition, won gold medals at Level 5 in the Special Olympics World Summer Games in 2003 and 2007 respectively; the battle between these two outstanding players is sure to be very exciting.
The climax of the press conference was when the five LPGA pros and representatives of the Special Olympics athletes unveiled the Tournament logo - green (representing hope), purple (support), orange (passion), and blue (fairness) - and the Tournament slogan: "Let's Goal! "
Tseng Yani gave a passionate declaration of her support for the event and also shared how deeply she was moved by the fact that the International Olympic Committee had voted to include golf as an event in the Olympic Games again, starting in 2016, after an absence of 114 years. Tseng said emotionally, "I will be taking these Special Olympics athletes as a model, learning from their determination and the way they constantly challenge themselves, in the hope that I can set a new record for Taiwanese golf when representing Taiwan at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in 2016!"
The international Special Olympics regulations specify five levels for its golf competition. For the 2009 Special Olympics International Golf Tournament, Level 1, Level 4 and Level 5 (the highest level) athletes were invited to take part in the Tournament. Level 1 is the Individual Skills Competition, covering basic golfing skills such as short putt, long putt, pitching, chipping, wood shot and iron shot. Level 4 is a 9-hole Individual Stroke Play Competition, while Level 5, the highest level, is an 18-hole Individual Stroke Play Competition.
|Tournament Chairman-Ms. Eily Ho, five of Taiwan's top LPGA pros and Special Olympics Chinese Taipei athletes. (Photo courtesy of KH Golf Foundation)|