Courtenay resident Dali Lin was part of the Taiwanese fencing team that in 1976 travelled to Montreal for the Summer Olympics.
But he did not compete. The team withdrew from the Games because China pressured Canada to deny Taiwan the right to compete as the Republic of China.
“For a period of time, Taiwan wasn’t a member of the Olympic (movement),” said Lin, recalling Taiwan returned to Olympic competition as Chinese Taipei in 1984 in Los Angeles.
“We worked for many years to get it back. But not to use the original name…China wanted one China, not two. Because they are a UN member, and Taiwan is not. Even to this day, Taiwan still is not a member of the UN. China is so insistent. One-China policy. And because, they now have more international power.
“Many countries, apart from USA, recognize only one China, which is mainland China. We have no UN membership, but in the Olympics, somehow we worked it out.”
Lin developed an interest for fencing back in the days when he enjoyed movies such as the Three Musketeers.
“I even made a sword myself, because my father ran a sawmill. When I was in junior high school, one day I passed by the YMCA, and they have a poster there. There’s a picture of fencing. I was so excited. I went in to ask but they already finished. There was a team from Japan in Taiwan to do a demonstration.”
Though disappointed, he was inspired to purchase fencing equipment and a book. In the early years, Lin taught himself the sport by reading the book and fencing against the wall.
“For the first three years, I didn’t have a chance to even practice against anybody until I got into university. The school had a fencing club.”
Seems he taught himself well. For four years running, he was the fencing champion of Taiwan.
“I was the best in Taiwan for four years,” said Lin, recalling competitions with the national team in Japan and Hong Kong. “Back then, in Taiwan, to go abroad, it’s a big deal. Taiwan was still under martial law. We were a long time in martial law, so the people cannot have real freedom like here.”
Lin came to Canada in 1992. He built a sawmill, T.F. Specialty, which operated for 11 years on Comox Logging Road.
He and his wife Jin later purchased Maple Pool Campground.
To this day, he still fences.
“I never really stopped,” Dali said. “Now it’s purely for fun.”
Though one year, in 2002, he won a trophy at a provincial fencing tournament in Victoria.
Jin was also a competitive fencer, both in Taiwan and Canada. She placed second one year at a different competition in Victoria.