Taiwan javelin ace banned from Beijing Paralympics
Taipei - Taiwan's Paralympics javelin gold medalist Chiang Chih-chung has been barred from defending his title at the 2008 Paralympics in Beijing this month, it was reported Wednesday.
The visually-impaired Chiang, a two-time Paralympics javelin gold medalist and world record holder, will not be attending the games that will be held between September 6 to 17 and attended by some 4,000 disabled athletes, the Taipei Times reported.
Chiang, 28, won gold at the Sydney and Athens Paralympics, setting a world record in Athens with a throw of 57.28 metres. He also won the gold medal at the 2007 International Sports World Games in Brazil.
In February, the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) informed the Chinese Taipei Paralympic Committee (CTPC) that although Chiang met the minimum conditions for participation, he had not been accredited for the Games, the paper said. No reason was given.
Apart from Chiang, 2006 IPC Athletics World Championships javelin gold medal winner Chen Ming-tsai has also been excluded.
"We objected to the IPC and the Beijing Olympic Committee through various channels, but received no clear reply," CTPC president Linda Chen was quoted as saying.
"For the IPC to make such a decision, China must be interfering behind the scenes," said Lai Fu-huan of CTPC's standing committee.
Chiang said he was disappointed at not being able to represent Taiwan at the Games. "I don't understand why the rules of the game have been changed. Taiwan has been in a weak position and has been pushed around by China all along," he said.
Taiwan's Sports Minister Tai Shia-ling did not accuse China of political interference, but said there should be a standard procedure to decide the participation of athletes in sports events.
"If China has blocked Chiang from the games for no reason, then it might have political implications, but the matter needs to be probed," the Taipei Times quoted her as saying.
Taiwan has sent 17 athletes to the Paralympics Games in Beijing to compete in six sports. (dpa)