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Volume 6 No. 235

Olympics

A A$100M ($79.3M) plan to "fast-track a national sports lottery" to support the Australian Olympic team in Tokyo is "under threat, as state governments say they need more time for consultation," according to Samantha Hutchinson of THE AUSTRALIAN. Australian Federal Sports Minister Greg Hunt "could not confirm whether moves to get a national sports lottery up and running by next July remain on track" after agreeing on Friday to extend a consultation period with the state governments. Hunt outlined in May a ­national sports plan to "boost lagging Australian sporting results," which included a British-style lottery system slated to commence next July. But at a meeting on Friday, state sports ministers expressed "concerns over the timing of the plan and its ambitious start date, and other reservations about using a lottery or gambling system to raise funds for national sports teams." A spokesperson for Hunt said that he had agreed to extend the consultation period for the plan at the reques­t of the South Australian government, but "stressed the lottery plan was still under way even as he backed away from earlier suggestions of a July start date." Some sports ministers at the meeting reportedly said that "more discussions needed to be had with state-based treasurers to settle on the finer details of the lottery plan, given that the crea­tion of a new lottery could generate losses for existing state-based lottery systems" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 8/21).

Mainland China boycotted the opening ceremony of the World University Games hosted by Taiwan on Saturday in the "latest reflection of deteriorating relations between the two sides," according to the AFP. The biennial Summer Universiade, dubbed the “Little Olympics,” is the largest sporting event Taipei has hosted. It is the first time Taiwan has held the Games, but even on home turf it must compete as "Chinese Taipei" and is "unable to fly its national flag or play its national anthem because of Beijing’s sensitivities." Relations have deteriorated since Tsai Ing-wen of the independence-leaning Democratic Progressive Party took office in May last year, with Beijing "cutting off all official communications" (AFP, 8/20). 

PROTESTS: REUTERS' Faith Hung reported opening ceremonies at Taipei 2017 Summer Universiade were "temporarily disrupted on Saturday by protesters who blocked the student athletes from participating in the parade of nations." The protesters were "demonstrating against reforms in Taiwan's pension system for government employees and teachers." Most of the 7,700 athletes invited to the games did not get the chance to march, as police reportedly "feared navigating through crowds of protesters would not be safe" (REUTERS, 8/19).