TAIPEI, Taiwan -- A strong desire to grab the gold medal in the upcoming 2010 world tug-of-war championships in Italy has made 12 teenage girls give up staying slim and eat to gain weight so they can qualify for the games.
The girls studying at Taipei Jingmei Girls High School are members of the school's tug-of-war team, which usually takes part in games in the category between 480-kg and 520-kg cumulative team athletes' weight, according to school principal Lin Li-hua.
The team began seeking to have a cumulated weight of eight persons surge to 540-kg after learning that the Tug of War International Federation has lowered the age limit to 16 years old for the 2010 world championships, and that they will only have the government's funding if they join the game in the 450-kg category, Lin said.
Over the past few months, each member of the team had to swallow down dinner for 2-3 persons.
Now, every girl in the team weigh at least 10-kg more than they did before deciding to join the international competition, their coach Kuo Sheng said.
"I am touched and impressed by these girls' determination," Kuo said. The team leader Kuo Ya-ting, who was 157cm tall and weighed 48-kg, has managed to gain 12-kg.
"I have never been so fat" she said.
Admitting she was reluctant to look at herself in the mirror after she had gained weight, Kuo Ya-ting nevertheless vowed to bring home the gold medal from Italy.
Nine members of the team will be selected for the 2010 World Indoor Championships, scheduled to take place on Feb. 25-28 in the Italian city of Cesenatico.