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!).
Sam Pearson has spent the last eight years working in the Chinese sports industry, most recently in the role of Senior Manager, Marketing Solutions Asia Pacific for the WTA, after previous stints with Ruder Finn and OCEANS Sports Marketing . He returns home to Wellington, New Zealand, to take up a position as Regional Sales & Marketing Manager for the FIFA U-20 World Cup New Zealand 2015. Shortly before leaving China, Pearson spoke to China Sports Insider about the current state of the sports industry, as well as the changes he’s witnessed, the future of men’s and women’s tennis in China – and being linked to a tennis star in China’s gossip pages.
The French Open, famously won by Li Na in 2011, gets underway in less than two weeks, and to mark the highlight of the clay court season, GQ China has done a photo shoot with the Chinese star. Li called it one of the most fun shoots she’s done “in years” and the results are below (photos via Sina and Li Na’s Facebook page). Check out the crazy tan lines on her wrists (from her wristbands) and on her right knee (from the SpiderTech tape she’s worn since 2009).
Li Na has probably never before been compared to the Xinjiang Flying Tigers, but there’s a first time for everything. Both are on losing streaks they just can’t do anything about.
Teams considered to be the best in the world by the Laureus Academy over the past decade have included FC Barcelona, the European Ryder Cup team and China’s Olympic squad.
But you would be hard pushed to find a more dominant team in world sport right now than the women’s doubles partnership of China’s Peng Shuai and Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei. In winning the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells last weekend, the pair moved to 11-0 in finals. I’ve searched high and low to find some comparable dominance – in tennis and elsewhere – and I’m still looking.
Stephon Marbury could be in line for a second statue in Beijing. Having missed most of the season through injury, he has inspired the Beijing Ducks in the CBA playoffs, leading them into a finals showdown against the Xinjiang Flying Tigers after a 3-2 series win against the Guangdong Southern Tigers.
The Chinese Super League season kicked off this past weekend, and goals were few and far between. Ominously, though, the top of the table is already occupied by Guangzhou Evergrande…
That’s Online (also in the print versions) has a nice profile of Darci Liu, China’s first and so far only female professional surfer, who, amazingly, only learnt to swim at the age of 18: Continue reading Sports round-up: CSL, surfing, golf, tennis and the invisible Paralympics
Li Na has always had a strained relationship with the Chinese media – particularly the written press – who accuse her of being arrogant and disrespectful. But as this week’s Sports Talk column discusses, those media now need Li Na far more than she needs them, especially since she has already won over the global press with her Australian Open victory speech, and has a global profile that’s higher than ever given her rise to number 2 in the rankings. Here is an extract: