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Ma Ying-jeou bats for Taiwan's team in Beijing
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Taiwan's newly elected leader Ma Ying-jeou will root for the island's baseball team during the Beijing Olympic Games, according to the local news agency udn.com.


Hong Yizhong, head coach of Chinese Taipei's baseball team, presents a signed bat during a celebration honoring Chinese Taiwan's baseball qualification for the Olympic Games in Taipei, March 24, 2008. [udn.com]

"Please be assured. And I will try my best to support the island's sporting cause," Ma said on Monday during a celebration honoring Taipei's baseball qualification for the Olympic Games.

"The policy is unchanged with regards to having Taiwan's team go to the Olympics," added Ma when giving his best wishes to the team.

Ma attended the celebration less than 72 hours after he defeated Frank Hsieh of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in the island's leadership election with a landslide victory on March 22.

Ma got 7.6587 million ballots, or 58.45 percent of the vote with his running mate Vincent Siew, while Hsieh got 5.4452 million ballots, or 41.55 percent of the votes.

During Monday's event, Ma took a group photo with the baseball team including the 19 players who helped the local team beat Australia and South Africa at the qualifying tournament in Taipei on March 14.

"The Olympic qualifying tournament was held during the Taiwan election. Whenever I had a break, I watched the TV broadcasts," udn.com cited Ma, who was pleased to see Taiwan's baseball team qualify for the Games.

Reports also say that Ma is a big sports fan, including baseball. When he was mayor of Taipei, he spearheaded the construction of sports facilities like the Skydome for baseball.

(China Daily March 26, 2008)

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