Taiwan ‘Zhiguang’: Taiwanese & Taiwanese American Athletes to Root For

The term “Taiwan zhiguang,” or “the pride and glory of Taiwan,” has been used to describe the likes of Chien-Ming Wang, Yani Tseng, and Jeremy Lin, among other Taiwanese and Taiwanese American athletes. Their accomplishments range from World Series titles to Olympic gold medals, and in addition to playing their respective sports, these athletes have also become cultural ambassadors for Taiwanese and Taiwanese Americans throughout the world. With professional sports beginning to resume under COVID-19 restrictions, here is a list of some Taiwanese and Taiwanese American athletes to look out for. 

Tai-Tzu Ying 戴資穎

(Age: 26, POB: Kaohsiung City, Taiwan)

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Badminton star Tai-Tzu Ying has been a “Taiwan zhiguang” for quite some time, having been ranked number one in the world when she was just 22 years old and with numerous medals across different international competitions under her belt. With her aggressive, and oftentimes unpredictable style of play, Ying won gold at the 2018 Asian Games and the 2017 Summer Universiade, as well as back to back Asian Championships titles. She will be competing in the Tokyo Summer Olympics next year, after which she will retire from the sport. 


Tzu-Wei Lin 林子偉

(Age: 26, POB: Kaohsiung City, Taiwan)

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Following an illustrious youth career representing Taiwan, which included first place finishes at the 2010 Junior League World Series and 2010 World Junior Baseball Championship, Tzu-Wei Lin signed with the Boston Red Sox in 2012 for a $2.05 million signing bonus, the largest for a Taiwanese-born position player and third largest for an Asian amateur. Lin would be called up to the major leagues in 2017, primarily serving as a utility player who could play multiple positions. Known to be a fast runner and a patient contact hitter, Lin has had a solid career thus far, despite fluctuating between the Red Sox’s Triple-A affiliate and the major league team. He holds the record for the most hits by a Taiwanese player in the major leagues and is also the second to win a World Series ring after Chien-Ming Wang won one with the New York Yankees in 2009. With the departure of utility player Brock Holt from the Red Sox, look for Lin to receive more playing time this upcoming season. 


Hsing-Chun Kuo 郭婞淳

(Age: 26, POB: Yilan, Taiwan)

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At 26 years old, Hsing-Chun Kuo boasts an impressive weightlifting resume which includes an Olympic bronze medal, as well as numerous gold medals at the World Weightlifting Championships, Summer Universiade and Asian Games. After placing sixth in the women’s 58 kg category at the 2012 London Summer Olympics, Kuo won bronze for the same category at the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics, completing a 129 kg lift and finishing with a total of 231 kg. She has set 11 senior world records throughout her decorated professional career, which, like Tai-Tzu Ying’s, may come to an end after the Tokyo Summer Olympics. 


Po-Jung Wang 王柏融

(Age: 26, POB: Pingtung County, Taiwan)


Nicknamed “The King,” Po-Jung Wang dominated Taiwan’s Chinese Professional Baseball League (CPBL) after debuting for the Lamingo Monkeys in 2015, hitting his way to an eye-popping .414 batting average while also becoming the first CPBL player to record 200 hits in a single season. The next year, he followed up this performance with an equally stunning .407 batting average and led the league with 31 home runs. Wang’s unprecedented success in the CPBL led him to be posted for a transfer to Japan’s famous Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) league, where he signed a three year contract with the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters in 2018.


Karen Chen

(Age: 20, POB: Fremont, California)

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The daughter of Taiwanese immigrants, Karen Chen began ice skating in 2005 and would eventually find herself in the upper echelon of American figure skaters. At age 20, she is the youngest on this list, but has nevertheless amassed an impressive list of accomplishments herself, which include two bronze medals at the CS U.S. International Figure Skating Classic and most notably a gold medal at the 2017 U.S. Figure Skating Championships. Chen placed 11th at the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics and is currently ranked 39th in the ISU World Standings. She looks to build upon her success at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics while also studying at Cornell University. 


Yu Chang 張育成

(Age: 24, POB: Taitung County, Taiwan)

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Infielder Yu Chang is one of the lesser known names on this list, but is nevertheless one of Taiwan’s most promising baseball exports. After signing with the Cleveland Indians for a $500,000 signing bonus in 2013, Chang was ranked the team’s sixth best prospect in 2018 and made his major league debut on June 28, 2019. The 24 year old infielder is particularly known for his power at the plate and ability to drive in runs, and he looks to become a more prevalent part of Cleveland’s infield, which boasts talent but may soon have openings as existing contracts begin to expire. 

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