Taiwan’s National Indigenous Game began in 1999. County and city governments take turns holding the event every two years. The biennial Game is the pre-eminent event for showcasing top talent in Indigenous peoples’ traditional skills and sports.
For the first time in 22 years, Austronesian athletes took part in this year’s National Indigenous Game. A total of 21 youths from nine countries (Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, Tuvalu, Indonesia, Kiribati, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Papua New Guinea) made up the Austronesian Youth United team, participating in three traditional skills competitions: archery, wood-sawing, and weight carrying.
The flag presentation ceremony for the 2021 Austronesian Traditional Sports Competition was held by the Austronesian Forum on March 18, 2021. Executive Council Chairperson Icyang‧Parod presented the team flag representing the spirit and vigor of Austronesian peoples to Team Leader Tommy Kunji (Representative of the Papua New Guinea Trade Office in Taiwan). The athletes all pledged to carry on the spirit of adventure and exploration of their Austronesian ancestors and do their best in the games, facilitate deeper exchanges, so that people in Taiwan’s society may better understand Austronesian culture.
Every member of the Austronesian Youth United gave their all during the games from March 19-22 and built friendships with indigenous athletes from Taiwan in the process. Members of the diplomatic corps also joined in, cheering on the athletes from the sidelines. Of course, many Indigenous spectators from Taiwan also cheered for the Austronesian Youth United team, painting a lovely picture of fellowship among Austronesian peoples.
All those who attended the National Indigenous Game no doubt went home with great memories. These traditional sports are what connect Austronesian culture. The perseverance demonstrated by all athletes is just what it takes to ensure that our culture is passed on.