Interesting blog post at the Guardian (UK) today about sporting rivalries. The Davis Cup final between Russia and the United States will be played this weekend – but how long will it be before China is considered a bona fide major sports nation, when measured by real athletic success? The piece below brings up some interesting points.
Taming of the Feuds (Guardian Unlimited, UK)
Since my last update (head hanging in shame…Osaka was wonderful but hot – which saps everyone’s energy and makes it twice as hard to get everything done), Yi Jianlian has signed with the Milwaukee Bucks, Liu Xiang won his first world championship in the 110-meter hurdles, and the women’s World Cup tournament has started in China. Not to mention the world gymnastics championships in Stuttgart where China, always a superpower, faced off against the world. There’s also the China Open (tennis) to look forward to this month, as well as the Asian IAAF track and field season, with its annual stop in Shanghai.
The tide has definitely turned – ever since the one-year-out mark to the 2008 Olympics, it’s felt like there’s a critical mass of information out there on the China sports world. That makes life busy…but also fascinating, as always, as we watch China develop into a sports superpower and experience the range of emotions and concerns that arise as the rest of the world attempts to understand China on that journey.
Following, a selection of news coverage and resources from the big events of the last few weeks – and of course, lots of information on World Cup:
WOMEN’S WORLD CUP SOCCER
FIFA Home Page
FIFA Women’s World Cup home page (English)
FIFA Women’s World Cup home page (Chinese)
China opens door to World Cup (USA Today)
Women’s World Cup Primer: Frenzy is gone, but plenty of entertainment awaits (Los Angeles Times)
Host China enters World Cup amid criticism, heavy expectations (USA Today)
U.S. women hope to get off on right foot (The Sports Network)
U.S. team is ready for the world (Washington Post)
Sawa key for Japan against the Three Lions (The Sports Network)
England: We don’t want Rolexes, just more recognition (Times Online, UK)
TRACK AND FIELD
Liu Xiang wins world gold; Americans 2-3 (International Herald Tribune)
Liu Xiang looking for an edge from the feet up (The Guardian, UK)
Liu Xiang delighted to deal with the pressure (The Guardian, UK)
Liu Xiang taking life one hurdle at a time (The Guardian, UK)
Coach: Liu Xiang confident of winning in Osaka (Xinhua, via ChinaView)
No. 6 pick Yi Jianlian finally signs with Milwaukee Bucks (International Herald Tribune)
Yi Jianlian finally signs for Milwaukee Bucks (Reuters Canada)
Chinese center Yi Jianlian signs with Milwaukee to start NBA career (Xinhua via China View; NB: I believe Yi will be playing power forward, not center, but he’s tall enough to go either way…)
What we learned from the world gymnastics championships (Sports Illustrated)
U.S. women beat China to win gymnastics world championship (Xinhua, via Mathaba News Agency)
Draw set for 2007 China Open (Xinhua-PR Newswire, via EarthTimes.org)
Gonzales sneaks out first-round win in Beijing (The Sports Network)
So many news clips, so little time.
World University Games (Universade):
The Chinese team had a great Universade, winning the medal count with 32 golds and 87 total medals.
A year out from the Beijing Olympics, China wins University Games gold race (International Herald Tribune)
A memorable Universade for hosts (The Nation – Thailand)
Universade concludes, China topping medal standings (China View)
Involvement of colleges leads China sports to sustainable development (People’s Daily Online)
China on way to sports system transformation (People’s Daily Online)
Nice haul for Canada at Bangkok Universade (Winnipeg Free Press) Editor’s note: This article isn’t about China, but I’m feeling a little guilty at not having posted more news of the World University Games (Universade) while they were being contested, so this is the CSB’s attempt at a touch of penance…it’s a great event, one that China has hosted in the past, and one well worth paying attention to.
World Badminton championships:
Trio of medals for China (SportingLife.com)
Report on Yan Zi in Montreal (Edmonton Sun) It’s old news now – Yan Zi lost after this article was posted – but it’s worth reading about how China’s stellar doubles player made it all the way to the singles semifinals against Justine Henin in Montreal from the qualifying rounds.
World Track and Field Championships (Starts Saturday August 25 in Osaka, Japan):
Sweet and sour taste of reality (The Herald) Coverage of the British national track and field team that will compete in Osaka, with some thoughts about 2008.
China hoping a strong comeback in athletics (Sri Lanka Daily News)
Yen for running (Times Online) Not a Chinese story, but a great feature on Britain’s Mara Yamauchi, her country’s top entry for the marathon at the world championships (fellow Briton and world record holder Paula Radcliffe had a baby in January and will not be competing in Osaka).
Summer Games are coming, but U.S. dominance is over (SportingNews.com)
Beijing sees Olympics as China’s shot at gold (Hollywood Reporter)
Olympic sailing test event: Report on the British team (SportingLife.com)
IT at Beijing Olympic Games to cost US$400 million (Washington Post)
Beijing’s weekend smog experiment (Blog entry at The Lede, New York Times)
More important than gold medals (Japan Times)
Olympic education for 400 million young people in China (International Olympic Committee)
IOC still believes in Beijing (BBC: Sport Editors’ Blog)
State Councilor urges better implementation of anti-doping regulation (People’s Daily Online)
WADA asks China to increase doping tests for athletes (Voice of America)
Smog casts a cloud over Beijing (BBC)
Coastal city pulsates with Beijing (People’s Daily Online)
Yan Zi, one-half of the stellar Chinese women’s doubles team that won the 2006 Australian Open and Wimbledon, had a great week in Toronto at the Sony Ericsson WTA Rogers Masters tournament. She went through the qualifying round, and then upset Ana Ivanovic (who won the East West Bank Classic in Los Angeles a week ago) and Wimbledon finalist Marion Bartoli in the main draw. She lost in the semis to Justine Henin, but what a great ride for a player with awesome groundstrokes and a fun, bubbly spirit (she’s a great English speaker as well).
Henin cruises into Toronto final (The Sports Network)
The China Sports Blog visits Los Angeles this week for the East West Bank Classic, a Tier II event on the Sony Ericsson Women’s Tennis Association tour. Among the Chinese athletes competing here are Li Na, Peng Shuai, Sun Tiantian and Yan Zi. Li Na came in to the media tent near the side courts with her left thigh wrapped tightly, but she looks healthy and happy and ready to compete. The Chinese media, as always, are out in force: Li was surrounded by them at her interview table this afternoon, looking a little bewildered by all the attention. Peng Shuai held court in a relaxed and thoroughly bubbly and fun manner – and took tons of questions from the Chinese journalists about her coaching relationship with Michael Chang. More to come as the week goes on.
Li Na has appointed her husband as her tennis coach in an apparent first in the ranks of elite Chinese tennis players, according to AFP. Li is the best singles player ever to come out of the People’s Republic – great to watch and an excellent ball stroker. Loneliness is part and parcel of a game in which you’re on the road eleven months of the year, but the Chinese Tennis Federation doesn’t make it easy for players to have any sort of personal life – in the minds of the powers that be, any outside influence is a distraction. The article linked above makes one small factual error, claiming that Li Na’s husband, Jiang Shan, has no previous coaching experience. In an interview I did with Li Na for the Chinese edition of Sports Illustrated at the U.S. Open in September, she told me that he was a tennis coach at the university where the two of them had studied.
The Beijing 2008 world press briefing, more Liu Xiang and Allen Johnson to come, BOCOG news, another WTA event in Guangzhou…it’s all here (well, links to it are, anyway!) at the CSB.
Liu set to shine as season starts winding down (China Daily, via AFP)
Liu Xiang vs. Allen Johnson road show moves to Korea (IAAF)
Beijing 2008 World Press Briefing update (GamesBids.com)
International media get Olympic preview (China Daily)
BOCOG to provide quality service for news media (China Daily)
Delegation of Ministry of Youth and Sports of Azerbaijan visiting China (Azertac)
Jankovic, Li roll in Guangzhou openers (The Sports Network)
Chakvetadze, Medina Garrigues advance in China (The Sports Network)
5th World Forum on Sport, Education and Culture in Beijing, October 22-24 (International Olympic Committee)
IOC president speaks highly of sports development in Cyprus (with quotes from Chinese IOC member He Zhenliang – People’s Daily Online)
Cycling: Rider on road to Olympic first (Li Fuyu becomes first Chinese to sign with a UCI Pro Tour team (Discovery Channel) – People’s Daily Online)
Tennis fans can follow the draw for the China Open at The Sports Network’s tennis page. Peng Shuai is having a great tournament – despite being unseeded, she was the only one of the Chinese players to make the semifinals, with a second-round win against eighth-seeded Maria Kirilenko of Russia and a three-set win against Japan’s Ai Sugiyama. She’ll have to get past some very big guns to win it, though: her semifinal opponent is Svetlana Kuznetsova, the number-two seed and former Grand Slam champion, and the other semifinal pits world number one Amelie Mauresmo against fellow U.S. Open semifinalist Jelena Jankovic.
On Saturday the second Shanghai Golden Grand Prix track and field meet will be held at Shanghai Stadium. The meet features fourteen events but the headliner of course is China’s Liu Xiang facing off against Allen Johnson, the legendary hurdler who upset Liu last weekend in the IAAF World Cup in Athens. The IAAF has published a preview article on the event, written by yours truly. Check out the event website for coverage in English. One note: the website doesn’t seem to be updating news from the event as quickly as other news websites out there – last we heard, Terrence Trammell and Dominique Arnold had pulled out earlier this week due to injury, but the start lists on the event website still have both of their names listed. Stay tuned…
Liu Xiang is in the middle of a busy two weeks – last weekend he ran as part of Asia’s team at the IAAF World Cup in Athens, and this weekend he’ll defend his title at the Shanghai Golden Grand Prix. Liu was upset in Athens by American Allen Johnson, who, astonishingly, is as much a household name in China as Liu himself is…The Chinese have a great deal of respect for Johnson for his longevity (he was the 1996 Olympic gold medalist in the 110-meter hurdles) and sportsmanship.
Johnson beats Father Time as well as Liu and Robles (IAAF.org)
In women’s tennis, the China Open has begun in Beijing, and Li Na, China’s top singles player, won her first match, as did Zheng Jie, who has had tremendous success in both singles and doubles this year.
Li, Kirilenko win China openers (The Sports Network)
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