Liu Xiang breaks world record; Wimbledon champs return to Beijing

Posted in Tennis, Track and Field/Athletics at 10:34 am by Nicole

Big, big week in Chinese sports. The Titan Sports newspaper this morning features a front-page photo of a jubilant Liu Xiang sitting atop the Omega timing device that recorded his new 110-meter hurdles world record yesterday in Lausanne: 12.88 seconds. Previously Liu was the co-world record holder (12.91 sec.) with Britain’s Colin Jackson. The headline: “The new world record is mine” (新记录是我的 – “xin jilu shi wode”). American Dominique Arnold was second in 12.90 seconds. The New York Times has the AP story (note: NY Times links are valid for a week, then become part of the paid “Times Select” archive). Other news articles: Runner’s Web, CNN (via Reuters), News24.com, IAAF.org, CBC Sports (Canada).

The English-language China Daily reports this morning on the return of Wimbledon women’s doubles champs Zheng Jie and Yan Zi to Beijing. The pair now own, well, a pair of Grand Slam championship trophies: they were victorious in the Australian Open in January. According to the article, the pair are now focusing on the 2008 Olympics and – in a great move for women’s tennis in China – the Federation Cup World Group Playoffs, which will be held this weekend in Beijing. If China wins, it will qualify for the world group in 2007.


The News…

Posted in 2008 Olympics, News, Sports Business, Tennis, Track and Field/Athletics at 10:22 am by Nicole

Track and field: More on the Hershey’s Track and Field Classic (U.S. vs. China)(Philadelphia Daily News); The Official Press Release for the Event (Yahoo Finance)

The Olympic Scheduling Controversy: Lenton slams NBC TV’s Olympic Swim Campaign and Time Switch May Be A Plus: Talbot (The Age, Australia)

The BOCOG Official-Sacking Controversy: Beijing Corruption Case Signals Political Battle (Reuters India)

Tennis: China Pleased About Wimbledon Seeding for Li (CRIEnglish.com) Editor’s note: This is a big deal. With her 28th-place seeding at Wimbledon, Li Na becomes China’s first seeded player in a Grand Slam singles championsip.

Rugby: Leicester helps build Chinese dynasty and Johnson and Underwood Lead Leicester’s Chinese Takeaway (Times Online, UK); British rugby stars impart skills to Chinese kids (ZeeNews.com)

Winter Asian Games: UAE for Asian Games ice hockey (Gulfnews.com) Editor’s Note: The Winter Asian Games will be held in Changchun, China from January 28-February 4.

Sports diplomacy: Cuban Sport Leader Visits China (Escambray, Cuba)

More on 2008: China prepares Olympic menu with Chinese characteristics (People’s Daily Online)


Women’s Doubles Semis today at the French

Posted in Tennis at 1:03 pm by Nicole

Zheng Jie and Yan Zi will play their French Open semifinal today against Daniela Hantuchova and Ai Sugiyama. The schedule of matches for Court Suzanne Lenglen has Zheng and Yan playing the second match of the day. Match play begins at 11:00 a.m. in France (5:00 p.m. in China). CCTV-5 doesn’t look like it will have the match on today – the entire afternoon and evening schedule is World Cup-centric. Perhaps the final, if Zheng and Yan get through? We’ll watch and see.


Roland Garros Update

Posted in Tennis at 8:07 am by Nicole

Australian Open women’s doubles champions Zheng Jie and Yan Zi are through to the quarterfinals of the French Open. The People’s Daily Online has a short news piece on the progress of the event. Xinhuanet also has a short news item with a photo of the team. Zheng and Yan will play the Russian team of Anna Chakvetadze and Elena Vesnina in the quarters. The tournament website has full information on the women’s doubles draw and the progress of the tournament.


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.


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)


Monday Sports Briefs

Posted in 2008 Olympics, News, Sports Business, Tennis at 11:17 am by Nicole

In the news today:

Tennis: Li Na’s run in the German Open came to an end in the semifinals. She was defeated by Nadia Petrova 6-1, 6-0 in her first major tournament semifinal. Petrova went on to defeat Justine Henin-Hardenne in the final, 4-6, 6-4, 7-5. In the Prague Open, China’s Peng Shuai was outlasted in the semifinals by Samantha Stosur of Australia, 6-1, 6-3. There’s a full tennis report on the weekend’s tournaments at the Concord (New Hampshire, USA) Monitor Online.

Beijing 2008: The Scotsman is running an article today about the challenges Beijing faces in hosting the 2008 Olympics. It’s mostly old news – concerns about the climate, air quality, security, and doping scandals abound – but includes an interesting analysis of the British cycling team’s program for acclimating its athletes in China prior to the games. Their eventual training destination? Macau, the former Portuguese colony located an hour from Hong Kong by hydrofoil.

Sports Marketing/Motorcyle Racing: Despite many sunny predictions, sports marketing in China isn’t always a slam-dunk. An article in the English-language Shanghai Daily talks about the difficulties faced by the Chinese promoters of the MotoGP Chinese Grand Prix motorcycle race, which took place on Sunday, May 14. Reuters UK has the results of the event, won by Spain’s Dani Pedrosa.

Weightlifting: China placed second at the World Disabled Weightlifting Championships in Busan, South Korea. Scroll down a bit at the IRNA (Iran) Sports News Digest website for the details.


China’s Zheng Jie Wins All-China WTA Final

Posted in Tennis at 1:24 pm by Nicole

This news is from last weekend, when I was still out playing in Sydney, but the first-ever WTA tour all-China women’s final took place last Sunday, May 7 in Estoril, Portugal. Zheng Jie defeated Li Na for the title, raising her lifetime record against Li to 4-0. Zheng is also a Grand Slam champion: she and partner Yan Zi became the first athletes from China to win a Grand Slam title with their women’s doubles win at the Australian Open in January.

The WTA Newsroom site has a report on the match that includes excellent background information on the emergence of women’s tennis in China…and the emergence of Chinese stars on the WTA tour.

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