Even More French Open News

Posted in Tennis at 1:31 pm by Nicole

Singles Watch: With four Chinese women in the second round of this year’s French Open women’s singles competition, it’s already China’s Best Grand Slam, according to News24.com (South Africa).

Doubles News: Li Na and Peng Shuai have won their first-round doubles match at the French Open over the American team of Jamea Jackson and Mashona Washington (6-2, 7-5). Their countrywomen Zheng Jie and Yan Zi won the Australian Open in January, China’s first-ever Grand Slam title. Zheng and Yan (fourth seeded in Paris) are scheduled to play their first-round match against Carly Gullickson (USA) and Bryanne Stewart (AUS). To make things even better, the defending Olympic gold medalists Sun Tiantian and Li Ting are in the mix, having won their first-round match in three sets against Maureen Drake and Nicole Vaidisova. Sun and Li are in the same half of the draw as Zheng and Yan, and are slated to meet in the quarterfinals (the third of six rounds in the doubles event).
Can China make it two doubles Grand Slams in a row? The China watch continues…

French Open News and Resources

Posted in Tennis at 8:13 am by Nicole

CRIEnglish.com has an entire English-language website dedicated to coverage of the 2006 French Open. Sina.com is running the story “Chinese girls face uphill task at French Open” which was published prior to the start of the tournament on Sunday. The CRIEnglish website has up-to-the-minute coverage of the Chinese players’ advancement at the tournament.


Fighting Match Fixing at the World Cup

Posted in Football at 3:29 pm by Nicole

Bloomberg.com is reporting on the use of betting companies during the World Cup in order to stamp out any attempt to fix matches. The article mentions past match-fixing controversies in several countries, including China, and notes that China’s Super League lost its title sponsor in January 2005 after a match-fixing scandal.

Countryside Basketball in Anhui Province

Posted in Basketball at 2:25 pm by Nicole

Anhui Province is one of the poorest provinces in China. Its capital is Hefei; its main tourist attraction is Huang Shan (“Yellow Mountain”). It’s not a place known for basketball, or sports at all, for that matter, but a great article from a few weeks back shines light on the way sport can unite even a small Chinese village. This CRIEnglish.com article on an Anhui village basketball tournament shows a slice of Chinese sporting life rarely seen in the West – and it’s a testament to the fact that the NBA’s foray into China is reaching a lot further than just the moneyed cities of Beijing and Shanghai.

Track and Field News Posts

Posted in Track and Field/Athletics at 1:42 pm by Nicole

A few news items on the Prefontaine Classic: IAAF.org, Runners’ Web (courtesy of USA Track and Field), Oregon Live (with some nice detail about Liu Xiang), Register-Guard (from Oregon – it’s a good article but the writer still thinks Liu Xiang’s family name is “Xiang”…sigh…), another Register-Guard article with perspective on Liu from an Oregon native living in Harbin, China, and the Associated Press via the San Francisco Chronicle…an article written by my buddy Bob Baum, who shared a very tightly-packed media mixed zone with me and the rest of the track and field media from the United States at last year’s world championships in Helsinki when getting an interview with Liu was oh-so-difficult because the thirty-plus members of the Chinese media who came to see him run were hounding him so completely. Note to Chinese media: Give the kid some space – there are still two years before 2008 and a lot can happen to a sprinter in that time. I’d love to see a Cathy Freeman-like moment at National Stadium in Beijing at the Olympics as much as they would, but the hounding only makes everyone’s jobs more difficult.


French Open Begins…Chinese Tennis On Display

Posted in Tennis at 3:06 pm by Nicole

Pro tennis has been on the map in China for several years now – and arguably, it all started at the French Open. Chinese-American star Michael Chang won the event in 1989 with several startling victories over legendary players such as Ivan Lendl and Stefan Edberg. Chang’s name in Chinese is “张德培” (Zhang Depei) and I had a cute moment with my first class of sports journalism students at Shantou University a year ago when I said, hmm, it’s interesting that you all think of him as Chinese, because back home, we think of him as American! (Chang became the first American men’s victor at the French Open since Tony Trabert in 1955.)

In honor of the start of this year’s French Open, in which there are no less than six Chinese women entered in the main draw, here are a few news clips dedicated to the emergence of tennis in China. The women are already Grand Slam champions and Olympic gold medalists; the men haven’t caught up yet but the ATP (Association of Tennis Professionals) has still capitalized on the popularity of the sport by hosting the men’s season-ending Master’s Cup competition in Shanghai.

The website for the French Open can be found here. The BNP Paribas website can be found here.

News articles on tennis in China:

Time Asia on the emergence of China’s tennis superstars (January 2006)
China.org on the Olympic gold-medal success of Sun Tiantian and Li Ting (September 2004)
China.org on the announcement of the first annual China Open tennis tournament (September 2004)
China Daily on Zheng Jie’s 2004 run to the French Open fourth round (June 2004)

Liu Xiang Wins at the Prefontaine

Posted in Track and Field/Athletics at 7:10 am by Nicole

The star-studded men’s 110-meter hurdles race at the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene, Oregon went China’s way a couple of hours ago, as reigning Olympic gold medalist Liu Xiang defeated defending world champion Ladji Doucoure (France, second place); four-time world champion Allen Johnson (USA, third); and U.S. star Dominique Arnold (did not finish) for the most prestigious spring track title available on U.S. soil. The United States isn’t a big track and field country, but don’t tell that to the fans at the “Pre” – it’s an extraordinary event with first-class organization. Full results available here.

Liu Xiang is one of China’s best-known athlete product endorsers, with contracts for China Mobile and the Chinese express mail service EMS among others. That’s gotten him into some trouble with the Chinese public. Here, an article from Reuters courtesy of SuperAthletics (South Africa) detailing Liu Xiang’s links to the tobacco industry.


Titan Sports

Posted in General at 3:32 pm by Nicole

File this post under the “hmmm, why didn’t I think of this before?” heading…Titan Sports (English website here) is China’s largest sports newspaper and it should have top-notch coverage of the World Cup. In my web travels I just came across a news item from last November when Titan became the “official FIFA media supporter in China for the 2006 World Cup.” The press release detailing the partnership has some interesting information about the extent of the popularity of football in China. (Hint: It’s huge.)


NBA this weekend

Posted in Basketball at 5:03 am by Nicole

Live NBA playoff games on CCTV-5 this weekend: 9 a.m. on both Saturday and Sunday, according to the erstwhile online CCTV.com broadcast schedule. It’s been a funny week at CCTV.com…the broadcast schedule wasn’t accessible for much of the first part of the week. As I’ve noted in this space before, best to check NBA.com for game times and tune in to CCTV (add 12 hours to convert EDT to China Standard Time) – all of the games broadcast are carried live.


Youth Football Exchange

Posted in Football at 5:09 pm by Nicole

Here’s a nifty news item from the Belfast Telegraph: A Derry City under-14 boys’ football squad will be attending a sports cultural exchange program in Tianjin, about an hour from Beijing, later this summer. According to the article, it’s the first of its kind involving a team from either the United Kingdom or Ireland. A Chinese football team will travel to Ireland next year as part of the exchange.

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