Rio Review: Day 1

China Medal Count

0 gold, 2 silver, 3 bronze

Day 1: Medals

Silver: Du Li (women’s 10m air rifle); Sun Yang (men’s 400m freestyle)

Bronze: Yi Siling (women’s 10m air rifle); Sun Yiwen (women’s individual épée), Pang Wei (men’s 10m air pistol)

Day 2: Ones to Watch

The best chance likely comes in diving as Wu Minxia and Shi Tingmao go in the women’s 3m synchro. Elsewhere, Chen Xinyi and Lu Ying have made it to the final of the women’s 100m butterfly, but are not expected to win a medal, and Zhang Mengxue has qualified for the women’s 10m air pistol final. And I would have said reigning Olympic champion in the men’s foil Lei Sheng, but at the time of writing, China’s flagbearer has just been dumped out. Continue reading Rio Review: Day 1

West Brom, AC Milan added to China’s trophy cabinet

Chinese football added another two major clubs to the country’s portfolio, as the government-backed soccer drive shows no sign of slowing down.

With the sporting world’s attention zeroing in on the Rio Olympics, China’s football industry – as has been the case repeatedly this year – stole back the spotlight. West Brom became the first English Premier League club to be acquired by a mainland Chinese owner. Then, just hours later, AC Milan joined the club as a Chinese consortium took full ownership from Silvio Berlusconi, following the lead of its cross-town rival Inter two months ago. Here are five thoughts on the day’s dealings:  Continue reading West Brom, AC Milan added to China’s trophy cabinet

Pressure builds on China as problems circle Rio Olympics

China’s largest ever Olympic contingent of 411 athletes has brought expectations for a sizeable medal haul to Brazil. But with with local issues compounded by some wider – and more worrying – trends, it is no exaggeration to say that the Rio Olympics are facing potentially fatal headwinds.

The Rio Olympics are shaping up to be the most pivotal of recent times.

Not because the sporting action is any more anticipated than at previous Games – far from it – but because the Olympic concept has taken so many knocks in recent years that the very credibility of the Games is under threat.

Continue reading Pressure builds on China as problems circle Rio Olympics

Will Premier League teams ever come back to China?

Thousands of Chinese soccer fans went home very disappointed last Monday evening, following the cancellation of the much-anticipated Manchester derby, after rain the previous week had left the pitch at the Bird’s Nest stadium in an unplayable state. Coupled with less than stellar pre-season tours in previous years, it’s hard to see many top Premier League teams jumping at the chance to return to China, especially when trips to the US and elsewhere are so much more enjoyable.

The expected resumption of hostilities between Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho, the new coaches of City and United respectively, had shone an unusually bright spotlight on this pre-season friendly, which, unfortunately, only served to highlight the inadequacies of the event’s preparation.

Continue reading Will Premier League teams ever come back to China?

Explained: What’s behind Chinese takeovers of football clubs

I spoke to Sky Sports reporter Johnny Phillips last week for a piece he did on the increasing amount of Chinese investment directed at English football clubs in recent weeks. Editors being as they are, only a few selected highlights appeared in the finished article, but we covered a lot of ground, so here is an uncut version (completed shortly before the Wolves deal – the latest of the Chinese takeovers – was announced), touching on why rumours spread so quickly, West Brom’s possible owner and his plans for world domination, Sven spouting nonsense and why Wolves fans are probably sleeping better than Villa ones at the moment.

Continue reading Explained: What’s behind Chinese takeovers of football clubs

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