Representatives from the Taiwan-based diplomatic corps, international chambers of commerce and organizing committee of the 2017 Taipei Summer Universiade contested the Diplomatic Woodball Friendship Tournament in Taipei City, expanding exchanges and learning more about Taiwan while experiencing the locally invented sport. Organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Woodball Federation, the daylong event took place at National Taipei University of Nursing and Health Sciences in Beitou District. It has been staged annually since 2011 and is considered a highlight on the diplomatic calendar.
MOFA Vice Minister, Leo Chen-jan Lee said at the tournament’s opening ceremony that woodball has generated widespread attention, affording Taiwan many opportunities for sporting exchanges with countries around the world. He also praised its creator Weng Ming hui for his tireless efforts in promoting the hybrid sport mixing croquet and golf. From its humble beginnings 26 years ago on the terraced hills of a scenic spot in Taipei’s Shihlin District, woodball has grown in popularity due to its simple equipment such as a ball, mallet and gate and the fact that it is easy to learn and play.
In 1990, woodball was recognized as an official sport by the Olympic Council of Asia and incorporated into the Asian Beach Games in 2008. The first time an athletic activity created in Taiwan achieved official status at an OCA organized event. The first woodball tournament was held in Taiwan in 2002 under the auspices of the IWbF and the Switzerland-headquartered International University Sports Federation, governing body for the Universiade and World University Championships.
Running Aug. 19-30, 2017, the biennial Universiade is the largest sporting event ever staged in Taiwan and is set to involve an estimated 7,700. Athletes from nearly 170 countries contesting 21 sports. Competition will take place at 38 venues around northern Taiwan. The Taipei based IWbF is responsible for spreading woodball through conducting exchanges and sporting diplomacy with international counterparts. Comprising 44 member states, the federation oversees more than 10 tournaments annually worldwide. According to the MOFA, raising Taiwan’s profile in the international sporting arena is a key goal of the government. Near- and long-term objectives include membership for the country in SportAccord, the umbrella organization for all international sporting federations and organizers of multisport games and related associations, as well as the inclusion of woodball in the Asian Games and Olympic Games. (SCK-E).
Source : Internet