Weekly Wrap: Chinese takes on Wimbledon, sailing and golf

The Chinese are getting up in their millions to watch the World Cup, and as expected Brazilian Neymar is becoming one of the main stories (this piece on Neymar’s China’s strategy is worth another look). But other things are happening too. Here’s a selection of interesting stories from the past few days (the first two of which feature some special China Sports Insider insight!).

Ollie Williams takes a look at the rookie Chinese team members of the Dongfeng Race Team who are training with more experienced French teammates for the nine-month long Volvo Ocean Race in this fascinating piece for CNN. The text in the slideshow is worth reading too:

Earlier in June, as the Dongfeng crew crossed the Atlantic for the first time, they themselves almost struck a whale. “So close, we could hear it breathing,” reported Caudrelier from the boat. “I have that in my mind all the time,” says Dubois, “knowing we are bringing the Chinese along.”

Wimbledon starts on Monday and China has four women in the Top 100, with Zhang Shuai now up to a career high of 33. Tournament directors have been looking east to promote the Championships, with a special focus on Weibo in China and Facebook in Japan, according to this piece from CNBC:

The Wimbledon tennis tournament is working on extending its digital reach into emerging markets as bosses behind the 137-year old sporting championship move to establishing it in the 21st century. The digital team at the All English Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC), the body organizing Wimbledon, have begun posting on Weibo – China’s answer to Twitter – as well as writing in Japanese on Facebook in an attempt spread the brand into the Far East.

The LA Times takes a look at Chinese investors who have been buying up US golf courses at cut prices:

“You’re seeing courses sell for less than $2 million that back in 2004 or 2005 would have cost more than $5 million,” said Chris Charnas of Links Capital Advisors, a brokerage in the Chicago suburb of Evanston. In December he arranged the sale of Chalet Hills Golf Club, a foreclosed course in Oakwood Hills, Ill., for $1.5 million. Charnas said the buyer was a Chinese investor, who commented: “This is like a $15-million deal in China.”

 while Dan Washburn’s forthcoming book The Forbidden Game: Golf and the Chinese Dream is reviewed by the Economist here and featured in a Telegraph article (by Washburn himself) here. The article asks:

Mao banned it; no one will admit to playing it; and it’s illegal. And yet China’s golf industry is booming. How?

The answer: government regulations might be one thing, but enforcement is quite another. Worth a read.

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