by Lyon Chiang
The Best Male Athlete, the highlight of the Sports Elite Awards, was awarded to Yang Yung-wei (楊勇緯), the “Judo Prince” who secured Taiwan’s 100th gold in Asian Games history. He also became the first athlete in the history of the Elite Awards to achieve a three-peat.
Since 2015, the Elite Awards have consisted of eight categories. In the Best Male Athlete category, gymnast “Parallel Bars Prince” Lee Chih-kai won consecutively in 2018 and 2019, while Yang Yung-wei achieved the same feat in 2021 and 2022.
This year, Yang Yongwei clinched the gold in the men’s 60 kg category at the Hangzhou Asian Games, contributing to Taiwan’s historic 100th gold medal. The achievement ignited nationwide excitement.
During a media interview, Yang Yongwei expressed his amazement at the remarkable year, especially the joy of winning gold at the Asian Games alongside his senior, Chen Jing-ling. He stated, “Today, receiving the Elite Award together, I was truly overwhelmed on stage.”
Both the Best Male and Female Athlete awards this year were won by judo athletes, marking the first time in the history of the Elite Awards that the same sport received both honors. Yang Yung-wei commented, “I am delighted to have this opportunity, and it seems that judo in Taiwan is gaining popularity.”
Looking ahead to 2024, Yang Yongwei acknowledged the highs and lows of the past year, expressing gratitude to his coaches and the team for helping him overcome challenges. He mentioned a piece of advice he read in a book, “The solution to anxiety is just to take action.”
Yang Yung-wei concluded, “I know there are still many issues I need to address, whether technically or psychologically. However, I am confident that I will strive for the Paris Olympics in the best possible condition.”
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