By the Sports Administration, Ministry of Education, R.O.C. (Taiwan)
Organized by the Chinese Taipei Motor Sports Association and co-organized by Taipei City Government, the Taipei International Gymkhana Prize was held on November 9-10 at the Ketagalan Avenue in Taipei. This was the first motor sport event ever held in front of the Office of the President. Thirty six top gymkhana drivers from 12 countries, 5 continents came to Taiwan for the event. Taiwanese competitors did well in the individual and team events, cheered on by local supporters, showing the fruits of the effort to promote gymkhana in Taiwan.
The word “gymkhana” originated in India and was originally a horse obstacle event. Unlike other forms of car racing, for gymkhana, cones are placed in a fixed area and drivers drive a designated car around a set course, seeking to reach the end without touching the cones, with the driver using the least time winning. The sport tests a driver’s vehicle operating ability, memory and spontaneous reactions. Gymkhana is quite unique amongst motor sports and has the characteristics of being safe, low-cost and fair; anyone who can drive can take part, so the threshold for participating is very low; it is a sport that attracts competitors of all age groups. The Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) made gymkhana an official sport in 2018 and plans to hold world events in future. The Taipei International Gymkhana Prize was not only the first continental gymkhana event held in Taiwan, but also the world event recognized by the FIA, opening the door to apply to hold more world events in future.
To develop international sports events with Taiwanese characteristics, the Sports Administration is promoting the Project to Mold Taiwan Brand Sports Events; the aim is to identify sports events with potential and then provide guidance to the organizers to mold a sports brand with Taiwanese characteristics, and, by marketing and broadcasting the event, create peripheral benefits. As a sports event guided by the Sports Administration, with the assistance of the Sports Administration and Taipei City Government, the Taipei International Gymkhana Prize became the first motor sports event held in front of the Office of the President and was broadcasted live. The organizers also set up a Gymkhana Carnival Area with various products designated by the event and food stalls; there was also a charity auction held in cooperation with a charity organization. The event attracted many motor sports fans from Taiwan and overseas, allowing them to feel the charm, and lively atmosphere of a gymkhana event without having to travel overseas. All the competitors said they found it very interesting to drive in front of the Office of the President. They felt the support of the Taiwanese public and that they will certainly come back next year. Holding the event in front of the Office of the President highlighted the accessible nature of gymkhana and added a Taiwanese flavor, really allowing gymkhana to take root in Taiwan.