‘Heroes parade’ draws tens of thousands

The China Post

In the day after the Universiade closing ceremony, the international delegations were packing up and leaving the Athletes’ Village for home. Meanwhile, the host team athletes were on a different journey. They were traveling along the streets of Taipei in the “Taiwan Heroes Parade,” waving to the tens of thousands who had gathered to cheer them on.

Over the past two weeks, members of the international delegations had built a bond with the staff and volunteers helping them at the Athletes’ Village and competition venues. Scenes of sad good-byes could be seen throughout the village. The Taipei Universiade Organizing Committee said that most of the delegations have already left Taiwan. The Athletes’ Village, as well as the Main Press Center, will close on Friday.

The Chinese Taipei delegation spent Friday celebrating its outstanding Universiade results in a series of activities including a banquet and a hero’s parade. At the parade, 255 athletes, coaches and trainers paraded down Taipei’s main thoroughfares onboard 27 vehicles, including jeeps and double-decker buses. When the vehicles reached the “Heroes Valley” on Guanqian Road, the delegation were showered by golden ribbons and welcomed by people waving flags and yelling “Thank you Taiwan heroes!”

As the parade reached its finishing point at Taipei City Hall Plaza, the athletes were given the red-carpet treatment as they walked to a stage set up there, while lookers-on held up their smartphones to capture the moment. Cheng Chao-stun, who broke the Asian record for men’s javelin, and Kuo Hsing-chun, who set a new world clean-and-jerk record in the women’s 58-kg category, spoke on behalf of all the Chinese Taipei athletes and expressed their thanks for the exceptional home crowd support they had received. Together, the athletes and the public had helped start a new page in Taiwan’s sporting history, they said.

The parade ended with the iconic sports song “Set Out Again,” encouraging the Chinese Taipei team to march toward its next big event: the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.