Taiwanese visually impaired athletes first to run in Boston Marathon

Taipei, Hung Kuo-chang (???) will become one of the first two visually impaired runners from Taiwan to participate in the world-renowned Boston Marathon in April, Hung told CNA Tuesday.

In a ceremony held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) in Taipei, Hung was officially presented with a Republic of China (Taiwan) national flag to carry during the marathon by Judy Wong (???), head of the ministry's Department of NGO International Affairs.

According to MOFA, Hung applied for a national flag to carry during the upcoming event.

Local media reports identified the other runner as Lu Kuan-lin (???).

At the Tuesday event, Hung said the two men will be the first visually impaired Taiwanese athletes to run the Boston Marathon, adding that he plans to be holding the flag when he crosses the finish-line at the April 16 marathon to show the world where he is from.

"I also want to take this opportunity to show the world that visually impaired people can overcome all kinds of challenge just like those with sight," Hung said.

He has trained three years for the marathon and had to first meet the standard set by the event organizers.

The Boston Marathon has a blind/visually impaired division which, as with other divisions, has a set of qualifying times to motivate aspiring athletes and ensure competitive excellence.

According to Hung, the Taiwanese visually challenged runners are among 70 entrants in the blind/visually impaired division.

Hung, 38, was born with cataracts and lost his sight at the age of 10. This will be the third international marathon he has taken part in since he started running in 2014, after the Kanazawa Marathon in Japan in 2016 and the Gold Coast Marathon in Australia in 2017.

He will have a guide with him throughout the 42-kilometer race and hopes to finish in about four hours.

The Boston Marathon is an annual marathon hosted by several cities in the greater Boston area. It has been held on Patriots' Day, the third Monday in April, since its inaugural event in 1897.

It is one of the six premier marathons held around the world, including the Tokyo Marathon, London Marathon, Berlin Marathon, Chicago Marathon and New York City Marathon.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel