The World Snooker Championships have begun in Sheffield, UK, with world number 2 Ding Junhui looking to add the only major title missing from his resume. Having won five ranking tournaments already this season, he continued his good form, taking a 6-3 lead over Michael Wasley in their best-of-19 first round match, and making the highest break of the tournament so far (136). Continue reading Weekly Wrap: F1 F-up, Becks is back, Ding’s title bid and Perfect Pitch
There have been a couple of fantastic, long-form articles written in recent days about sport in this part of the world. The first comes from Brook Larmer, author of the 2005 book Operation Yao Ming which details the rise of China’s most famous sporting son. Writing in the New York Times, Larmer turns his attention to golf, describing a fascinating picture of the wealthy, driven parents of kids as young as eight essentially creating their own mini versions of the state-backed sports schools that have been so successful in churning out Olympians. Here’s an extract:
Manny Ramirez’s 49-game cameo playing baseball for the EDA Rhinos in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, has been one of the most surprising and entertaining sports stories of the year in Asia. Every move – and I mean every – has been documented in great detail by Canadian Brandon DuBreuil, a long-time Taiwan resident with a passion for baseball, in his blog Manny Does Taiwan. Sadly for Brandon, us and especially the people of Taiwan, Manny has decided to take his talents elsewhere, though as of publication, he has yet to find another team. Here’s an interview with Brandon, detailing the three months spent covering Manny’s time in Taiwan.
Manny Ramirez left Taiwan last week, one week short of completing his initial three-month contract with the EDA Rhinos in the CPBL, ostensibly because he “wanted to spend more time with his family.” While quite possibly true, no one was buying that as the main reason: reports soon linked him to Japan – though nothing has so far materialized – and now his agent has says he’s keen to return to the big leagues i.e. MLB.
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.
Some thoughts for the weekend… I’ll say upfront that I’m not a huge fan of Forbes, particularly when it comes to their sports coverage, but their annual list of the world’s 100 highest paid athletes makes for interesting reading. Two things are clear: the money is still in the US – 63 of the athletes are American; 73 are US-based – but the sponsorship business is a global one.
Tennis, baseball, both forms of football, badminton, athletics and mahjong all feature in this week’s wrap…
Highlights of Manny’s three-RBI night on Thursday, including a home run at the 2:07 mark. The commentators go beserk, as do the fans, even though technically Manny’s team were playing away.
Great line from USA Today’s Ted Berg:
Say what you will about his carefree attitude and history of performance-enhancing drug use and that time he beat up the Boston Red Sox’s traveling secretary, but the guy can hit.