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Home News Papa did it: Chinese Taipei’s Lee Chih-kai makes history

Papa did it: Chinese Taipei’s Lee Chih-kai makes history

Summer Games 6 August 2023
Lee Chih-kai (Chinese Taipei) on pommel horse

“Papa did it!”

That’s what gymnast Lee Chih-kai of Chinese Taipei said to his wife and child on Saturday after securing the men’s pommel horse title with 15.500 points at the Chengdu FISU World University Games.

“I was really nervous before going on stage. I kept telling myself ‘Take a deep breath, find your own rhythm, don’t let others influence you’. Then when I got on stage, I told myself, ‘I can do this’.”

And the National Taiwan Sport University student did it.

Luo Huan (China) on the uneven bars during individual apparatus finals

“It meant a lot to me. Before I came to the Games, I told myself that this would be the last time I would take part in it and that I would leave without any regrets. I think I achieved that goal.”

Even more extraordinary is that on this fifth and final day of competition, he became the only artistic gymnast in history to claim individual apparatus victories at three consecutive FISU Games.

It is not the first time he has made history in his sport. At the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, he became the first Chinese Taipei gymnast to win a medal, taking silver on the pommel horse.

Myata Shoko (Japan) performs on vault

He got used to performing in public when he did basic gymnastics moves to help attract customers to his family’s vegetable stall at the local market.

“It’s a precious childhood experience,” the student-athlete said.

In the individual apparatus finals, Lee wasn’t the only winner to add to his FISU Games medal collection.

“I levelled up,” said Kaya Kazuma of Japan about his victory in the men’s floor exercise, in contrast to Napoli 2019, when he returned home with a silver medal.

The Olympic medallist, who claimed team silver and pommel horse bronze in Tokyo, has a total of eight medals from FISU Games, four from this year and four from 2019. In women’s action, compatriot Miyata Shoko won the vault title with a score of 13.700. Two of the four women’s titles went to China’s Ou Yushan, on balance beam (14.366) and in floor exercise (13.866). China also triumphed in men’s parallel bars, courtesy of reigning Olympic champion Zou Jingyuan (16.066), and on men’s rings, thanks to Lan Xingyu (15.366).

“Many of my classmates, friends, and teachers came to the Games especially to watch me compete. I am grateful to them for believing in me, and I hope to give them feedback with my own efforts,” said Zou, who fulfilled the expectations of thousands of spectators by also clinching silver on rings.

Lan Xingyu (China), gold medallist in men’s rings

“[It has been] a little bit stressful. But I’ve always known not to back down in the face of difficulty,” the student from Chengdu Sport University added about the pressure of competition. Chepurnyi Nazar of Ukraine (14.900) won the men’s vault and Kazakhstan’s Karimi Milad (14.800) prevailed in the men’s horizontal bar, chipping away at the dominance of Japan, China, and Chinese Taipei on the 10-medal day.


“My heart almost stopped.”


These, the reactions from fans to summarize the final day of artistic gymnastics at the Dong’an Lake Sports Park Multi-Purpose Gymnasium.

Written by Andjela Cegar, FISU Young Reporter