Taiwan apparently has a pretty good knack for winning tug-of-war competitions. Over the past few years they have taken home numerous medals.
In 2010, 2012, 2014, and 2017, the Taiwanese team took home the first place prize in the women’s 500 kilogram category at the Asian Tug-of-War Championships.
The Women’s team also won 4 gold and 2 silver medals at the Tug of War International Federation’s World Indoor Championships in Volendam, Netherlands in 2016.
This year in the most recent World Championship of the Tug of War International Federation the Taiwanese team grabbed four first place medals, two second place medals, and a third place finish, according to my research of the documents from the TWIF website. They also brought home multiple top 5 finishes. However, many argue that this total should have been five first place medals.
On March 10th, as the competition was drawing to a close, the Taiwanese men’s team was robbed of the gold during the final stage of the 560 kg competition. This is a result of what many are calling horrible judging, on the part of an inexperienced referee. In video of the match it seems clear that the judge missed a foul on the part of the opposing Irish team.
The Taiwanese coach, clearly heartbroken, plead with both officials and the other team to reconsider the ruling. While the Irish team reportedly agreed to a rematch or relinquishing their medals if the a foul could be proven, the judges couldn’t be reasoned with. The seemed unwilling to even review the footage or do much of anything, though to be honest I am not sure what they could do with regards to regulations.
In any case it is clear that many outside of the intimidate team were quite upset with the ruling. Many online, both Taiwanese and not, bemoaned the ruling as a gross miscarriage of judgment. Spectators in the crowd hurled hissed and booed the officials.
While it is unlikely that anything will be done, some are pushing to get a review of the ruling. There is currently a petition attempting to reevaluate the ruling and give the team from Taiwan a more fair outcome.
Yasu Cheng has even created a YouTube video to give everyone a chance to see and judge for themselves what happened. I encourage you to take a look for yourself and see what you think.
Photo by Jonathan Percy
Video by Yasu Cheng