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An analysis of the policy used to develop elite performance in taekwondo in Taiwan from 1997-2012

journal contribution
posted on 17.03.2017 by Alan Bairner, Sheng-Hsiang Chen
Introduction: Taiwan is not particularly well known in the world of international sport. However, the relationship between sport and politics in Taiwan is unusual, if not unique. Successive governments have recognized the potential of international sporting success to enhance the country’s global image not least because other such avenues are partially closed as a consequence of the troubled diplomatic relations between Taiwan and the People’s Republic of China (PRC). Within this context, taekwondo is one of few sports in which Taiwan consistently achieves remarkable performances on the international stage. Therefore, it is the political value attached to sporting success that makes taekwondo development strategies in Taiwan of considerable interest. The main aim of this study is to analyze the policy (or policies) used to produce elite taekwondo performers in Taiwan by focusing on the relationships between the national governing body (NGB) – the Chinese Taipei Taekwondo Association (CTTA) – and the government, and on key areas of elite sports development. Method: This study adopted a qualitative research approach, drawing upon a series of interviews with 9 governmental officials, 2 legislators, 3 members of staff from interest groups, 2 sports journalists, 2 sports academics and 2 national taekwondo coaches and with analysis based on the Advocacy Coalition Framework (ACF), this study explores the development policy of taekwondo at the elite level in Taiwan. Empirical data gathered from semi-structured interviews and documentary materials are analyzed using the ACF. Results: This study illustrated the relationships that exist between the CTTA and other organizations, including governmental agencies and NGBs as well as located the elite development of taekwondo in five separate domains including (a) the development of elite level facilities, (b) the identification of sporting talent and the development system, (c) the provision of domestic and international competition opportunities for elite athletes, (d) the development system for coaches, the provision of coaches and of sports sciences, and (e) the emergence of full-time athletes. Conclusion: The policy of developing taekwondo at the elite level in Taiwan has been examined in this study. By adopting the ACF, what resources and strategies the CTTA possesses and adopts to deliver its belief system to government and what external factors influence the taekwondo policy-making process have been presented within the discussion. In certain respects, the policy approach taken towards elite development of taekwondo is comparable to that adopted for other sports in Taiwan. However, this study has highlighted the specificities of taekwondo policy-making as well as areas of overlap. Studies that compare elite sport development across the whole range of sports are certainly of value. However, it is argued that they are at their most valuable when detailed studies of individual sports have first been undertaken, informed by various conceptual tools, amongst them the ACF.



  • Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences

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Physical Education Journal(Taiwan)






223 - 246 (24)


BAIRNER, A. and CHEN, S-H., 2016. An analysis of the policy used to develop elite performance in taekwondo in Taiwan from 1997-2012. Physical Education Journal (Taiwan), 49(2), pp. 223-246.


SMUR (Submitted Manuscript Under Review)

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