Taipei--A team of athletes were ready Wednesday to carry the 2017 Taipei Universiade torch to the top of Jade Mountain the following day before it heads to the offshore island of Penghu on July 13 to begin a LOVE-shape circuit around Taiwan and arrives in Taipei for the official opening ceremony on Aug. 19.
Team deputy leader Huang Tien-yu, a student at National Taiwan Normal University, said he and his teammates are "excited" but also feel "the weight" of the great responsibility bestowed on them as they carry the torch to East Asia's highest peak at 3,952 meters.
Huang has been leader of the university's mountain climbing club. "We understand the duty entrusted to us. Scaling a high mountain is not a competitive event like other sports. It is more like a dialogue with oneself," he said at the Tatajia base, which is 2,600 meters above sea level.
Another team member, Chiu Po-yu from National Chengchi University, was also excited as they neared the "completion of their mission" but worried that the weather might yet make things difficult for them.
"It is exactly the unknown variables we face that makes our mission of carrying the torch to the designated target even more important," Chiu added.
After reaching the peak on Thursday, the torch will be reignited in Penghu to launch a nation-wide run over four routes in the shape of the letters L,O,V,E -- symbolizing the university games' spirit of love and peace.
The letter L will link Penghu, Kinmen and Lianchiang -- all offshore counties. O will connect Yilan, Hualien, Miaoli and Taichung. V will, in a heart shape, cover Taitung, Pingtung, Kaohsiung, Chiayi County, Yunlin, Tainan, Chiayi City, Nantou and Chuanghua. E will bring together Hsinchu County, Hsinchu City, Taoyuan, New Taipei and Keelung.
The torch will then head to Taipei and travel across the capital city's 12 districts before arriving at Taipei Stadium on Aug. 19 for the official opening ceremony of the games, which run until Aug. 30.
The torch was first lit in Italy on June 20. It has traveled through Bangkok in Thailand and South Korea, before arriving in Taipei on June 29 from Daegu, South Korea.
Source: Overseas Community Affairs Council