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Taiwan leaves Rio with one gold, two bronzes and a few controversies

medals, plus its fair share of controversy — both in and out of the competition venues.

The 2016 delegation had higher expectations when it arrived for the event, which opened Aug. 5 and ends this morning Taiwan time.

Before the two-week games, the Chinese Taipei Olympic Committee had set a goal of three golds, two silvers and one bronze, with most hopes laid on the taekwondo, weightlifting and archery categories.

But things didn’t turn out as planned.

Taiwanese weightlifters Hsu Shu-ching (許淑淨) and Kuo Hsing-chun (郭婞淳) had been expected to bring in one gold each from the women’s 53-kilogram and 58-kilogram events, respectively.

The Chinese Taipei Olympic Committee also said 27-year-old Chuang Chia-chia (莊佳佳) had a high chance of gold in taekwondo, the sport seen as Taiwan’s strongest suit in the games.

In the end, only Hsu managed to live up to the committee’s expectations.

Kuo lifted a combined 231 kilograms to take bronze — a job still well done but one that she called “a disappointment” and “unsatisfactory.”

Taiwan managed to secure a third medal in archery with archers Tan Ya-ting (譚雅婷), Le Chien-ying (雷千瑩) and Lin Shih-chia (林詩嘉) beating Italy to claim the women’s team bronze — Taiwan’s first Olympic archery medal in 12 years.

In taekwondo, medal hopeful Chuang lost her bout for bronze on Friday to her Turkish rival, dashing Taiwan’s hope for a medal in the sport.

Taiwan’s results at Rio marked the first time that national athletes failed to obtain any medals in taekwondo since the sport was officially included in the Olympics in 2000.

To date, Chinese Taipei has claimed two golds, one silver and five bronze medals in taekwondo, accounting for eight of the 22 medals it has won at all the Summer Olympic Games combined.

Shadowed by Controversies

In addition to the arguably disappointing performance, the Taiwanese delegation’s time in Rio was also punctuated by controversy.

Before the games kicked off, Taiwan’s Olympic delegation member and tennis star Hsieh Su-wei (謝淑薇) made the bombshell announcement that she would retire from the national team over longtime disputes with the local tennis association.

During the two-week competitions, weightlifting medal hopeful Lin Tzu-chi (林子琦) was banned from participating in the women’s under-63-kilogram category after testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs.

Taiwan’s top badminton player Tai Tzu-ying (戴資穎), whose singles chances ended in a quarterfinal on Tuesday, had a dispute with the local badminton association when it criticized her for wearing shoes other than those of the official Olympic footwear sponsor.

The one-gold two-bronze finish, however, is still a small improvement on the team’s performance at the 2012 London Olympics, where it picked up only one silver and one bronze to rank 63rd — Taiwan’s worst showing in any Summer Olympics since 1996.