A TOP pool player has become the first Taiwanese sportsman to give up his citizenship in order to represent China, fuelling concern of a “brawn drain” to the mainland, local media said Thursday.
Wu Chia-ching, 22, a world champion in 2005, rocked Taiwan’s sports circles with the announcement that he will represent China in a pool tournament later this month after becoming a Chinese citizen, the Central News Agency said.
Local media said Wu is the first Taiwanese athlete to obtain Chinese citizenship—a claim sports officials contacted by AFP could not immediately confirm.
“Wu’s case highlights the crisis Taiwan is facing as it risks losing its top sport talents,” said the state-funded agency. “The government has to come up with incentives to keep them.”
Wu reportedly was also approached by Singapore in 2008, but even though the deal fell through, the Taiwanese billiard association allegedly barred him from competing as punishment for considering leaving Taiwan.
China has also been wooing the island’s top talents in other fields such as basketball, baseball and golf, as a recent improvement in ties between the two sides has made it easier for athletes to move to the mainland.
The most alarming development for local fans is perhaps in baseball, where Taiwanese coaches have been credited with playing an important part in China’s rise in the sport.