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Two NTHU Students Going for Gold
Chen Nien-chin and Tu Po-wei, both students at NTHU’s Department of Physical Education, competed in the Ulaanbaatar Cup 2017 boxing tournament held in Mongolia in June. Chen won a gold medal in the women's heavyweight (75 kg) class by beating competitors from North Korea, Russia, Mongolia, and other countries.
 
The film Dangal tells the story of a female wrestler who overcomes gender stereotypes to win a gold medal. Similarly, at the age of 14 Chen left her home in Matsu to begin an arduous training course in Taiwan, and currently has her sights set on the 2020 Olympic Games.
 
Chen’s father is from the Amis tribe and her mother hails from the Bunun tribe. Although she has a shy smile, as soon as she gets into the boxing ring her expression instantly becomes sharp and intense. "I'm jealous of her fierceness!" says her sparring partner Tu.
 
An early and difficult start
 
Six years ago, when Chen first began intensive training under boxing coach Ko Wen-ming, she called her father and sobbed about how difficult it was to endure the training. Thinking back on those days, Chen can’t help but laugh. She says that she wanted to give up and go home, but didn’t dare to tell her coach; instead she begged her father to call her coach and bring her training to an early end. Well acquainted with his daughter’s character, he kept delaying and appeasing her, at one point admonishing her by saying, “This is your choice, so you’ll just have to follow through with it.” That’s why Ko Wen-ming credits Chen’s father as having played a key role in her success.
 
Quick and agile
 
With a height of 169 cm, Chen is shorter than most heavyweight female boxers. But when Ko discovered how quick and agile she is, he began training her with his other male boxers, so that she wouldn’t be intimidated when facing opponents bigger and taller than she is. Moreover, Ko specially devised for Chen a kind of rising punch which has been particularly effective against taller opponents.
 
In addition to her natural ability, Chen has also impressed her coach with her stamina and her ability to stand up to hard blows. She trains six days a week, and all her father can say after watching her box is, “You’re so brave.”
 
With her family’s support, her coach’s guidance, and her own hard work, Chen has gradually become a well-known figure in the world of boxing, and has already competed in a number of international tournaments. In 2013 she came in first place in the 75 kg class at the AIBA Women's Junior/Youth World Boxing Championships; in 2014 she won a silver medal at the Youth Olympics; and in 2016 she won a gold medal at the World University Boxing Championship.
 
A trying experience
 
The Olympic qualifying tournament held in Bulgaria in 2015 was her first adult tournament, and one that neither she nor her coach will easily forget. After arriving in Bulgaria Chen came down with a stomach ailment that left her feeling nauseated and weak; as a result, despite a last minute burst of energy, she failed to qualify.
 
Interestingly, the following year Chen faced the same opponent, who was naturally expecting an easy win. As it turned out, “She didn’t even know what hit her,” Ko says with a laugh.
 
At only 20 years of age, Chen is a rising star in women's boxing. In the preliminary round of the Ulaanbaatar Cup 2017 she defeated a boxer from North Korea, and went on to defeat opponents from Russia and Mongolia. As a result, Chen became the first Taiwanese boxer to win a gold medal in this tournament.
 
Shooting for gold
 
Last year Chen participated in the Rio Olympic Games, becoming the first Taiwanese Olympic boxer in 20 years. Although she didn’t win any medals, she performed well and was mentioned as a promising competitor on the Olympic Games official website.
 
Chen is currently preparing to compete in Holland in September and in Saigon in October; and she’s planning to compete in the Asian Games next year and the World Cup in 2019.
 
Chen’s dream is to win a gold medal at the Tokyo Olympic Games in 2020.
 
NTHU sophomore Tu Po-wei is another up-and-coming boxer. Competing in the 49 kg class, he has a gentle demeanor, but when he gets in the ring he takes on a formidable air. Also coached by Ko Wen-ming, Tu won the 2015 Taipei City Cup International Boxing Tournament, and won a silver medal at the 2016 World University Boxing Championship.
 
At last month's Ulaanbaatar Cup 2017 Tu scored a victory in the first round, but was defeated in the second round. Undaunted, Tu, with true athletic spirit, takes it as an opportunity to hone his boxing skills.
 
Chen Nien-chin (left) and her coach Ko Wen-ming at the Ulaanbaatar Cup 2017 boxing tournament.

Chen Nien-chin (left) and her coach Ko Wen-ming at the Ulaanbaatar Cup 2017 boxing tournament.

At the age of 20, Chen Nien-chin is a rising star in the world of women’s boxing.

At the age of 20, Chen Nien-chin is a rising star in the world of women’s boxing.

Chen Nien-chin, Ko Wen-ming, and Tu Po-wei (left to right).

Chen Nien-chin, Ko Wen-ming, and Tu Po-wei (left to right).

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