Taiwan will cut two years worth of funding for speed skater Huang Yu-ting after she was pictured wearing a China uniform prior to last month’s Beijing Olympics.
Taiwan’s Sports Administration released a statement on Thursday, saying the decision was made based on “Huang Yu-ting’s repeated controversial words and deeds during the preparation and participation in the Beijing Winter Olympics, which hurt the honour and image of the delegation, violated her role as a member of the national team, and did not meet the purpose and benefit of the government’s subsidy to train athletes.”
In a video posted to Facebook in January, Yu-ting was captured training in a Team China uniform. According to the South China Morning Post, the 33-year-old claimed the outfit was a gift from a friend on the Chinese speed skating team.
The post drew heavy criticism in Taiwan, with social media in the country lighting up with calls for Yu-ting to “get out of Taiwan.”
The speed skater drew further ire when she said she felt “at home” competing in Beijing. Yu-tang failed to make the podium in any of the individual speed skating events in the 2022 Olympic Games, finishing no higher than 24th.
Yu-ting, who was one of her country’s flag-bearers in Beijing, “hurt the honour of the country as well as the people’s feelings,” the Taiwan Sports Administration’s release said. The Sports Administration also added that it has spoken to Yu-ting and that she has “expressed her apologies.”
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Tensions have risen in the region in recent months, with Chinese president Xi Jinping seeking “reunification” with Taiwan. According to the BBC, “China sees self-ruled Taiwan as a breakaway province that will eventually be part of the country again. However, Taiwan sees itself as an independent country, with its own constitution and democratically-elected leaders.”