After winning nine of the ten diving golds on offer at the FINA World Championships, there have been very mixed fortunes for China so far in the swimming pool.
Given the recent doping scandals in the world of sport and the furore that surrounded Ye Shiwen at the London Olympics, that’s the question many international reporters will undoubtedly be asking at the FINA World Championships in Barcelona, Spain, which kick off on Friday July 19 (though the swimming events don’t start until Sunday July 28).
The Asian Youth Games, scheduled for August 16-24 in Nanjing and closing just a week before China’s 12th National Games kick off, came up with a fantastic way of saving money: a virtual torch relay. The National Games, meanwhile, have gone a different route, getting rid of the excess celebrations, but also reducing the number of competitors and even eliminating two sports.
A brief departure from China for this week’s Sports Talk column to discuss one of the best – and most unusual – sport stories of the year: the non-Fellowship of the Ring. It turns out this story made news at the time eight years ago, with media asking back then if it Putin had stolen it. Kraft stuck to the script, but, eight years later, is apparently fed up and wants the ring back. Putin has since insisted through a spokesman it had always been a gift. It’s hardly a case for the ICC, but it will be interesting to see if there are any further developments. Here’s the piece:
It’s been a good week for unexpected sports stories.
Chinese swimmer Sun Yang has been a naughty boy: partying, missing training, and (gasp) even spending time with a girl. Sun wasn’t happy after being fined and went into a sulk, demanding a new coach. He need look no further than the world’s most famous swimmer, Michael Phelps, for a case study. Phelps, too, got tired of a life of training, let his hair down a little and then this happened:
Tennis, baseball, both forms of football, badminton, athletics and mahjong all feature in this week’s wrap…
Liu Xiang is out for the season, and will miss the 2013 World Championships in Moscow among other events. Further ahead, the 2015 World Championships will be held in Beijing and the 2016 Olympic Games will be held in Rio. In 27 Olympics, the oldest ever winner of the 110-metre hurdles was Mark McCoy who was 30 in 1992; Liu will be 33 in Rio.
In recent years, Japan and China have had a, shall we say, “strained” relationship, but the Japanese may have just pulled one over their rivals in the most unlikeliest of places – table tennis, currently China’s most watched sport.
China has won 24 of a possible 28 gold medals in Olympic ping pong history, adding another 15 silver and 8 bronze. Japan, in contrast, has won a solitary silver medal in seven attempts since the sport was first included in the Olympics in 1988.
But, in perhaps the most sneaky sporting move since Myanmar handpicked most of the sports for this year’s Southeast Asian Games, Japan has moved to level the playing field, by doing exactly that – literally, making sure that the playing field is level. Confused? Continue reading Levelling the playing field
Here’s my Sports Talk column from today’s Global Times on Oscar Pistorius’ fall from grace:
When Oscar Pistorius came to Beijing for the 2008 Paralympic Games, he was already something of a celebrity. As a 17-year-old, he had won Paralympic gold in Athens four years earlier, and though he had failed in his bid to run at the Beijing Olympic Games against able-bodied athletes, he didn’t disappoint at the Paralympic Games, winning three gold medals and running record times in each event.
Speaking to him on the track immediately after his third win, I remember a humble young man breathless with excitement, and quick to credit others for his success. He told me his dream had been realized. But that dream has turned to a nightmare.
In light of recent events, it’s interesting to look back at a feature I did on Oscar Pistorius in 2008. I interviewed him twice on the night he won his third Paralympic gold medal – once immediately after he crossed the finish line, then again an hour or two later after he had got his breath back.