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.
Tennis, baseball, both forms of football, badminton, athletics and mahjong all feature in this week’s wrap…
In this week’s round-up, Taiwan takes centre stage on the world sporting map, golfing teen sensation Guan Tianlang explores America, the most ludicrous claim you’ll hear this decade and a hot sporting WAG.
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.
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.
Phelps loses his balls
That was Michael Phelps’ assessment after playing golf with Matt Kuchar at Mission Hills golf club in Haikou. He kept he temper remarkably well, despite, hole-after-hole, losing his ball to Chinese fans hellbent on snagging a souvenir. Admittedly, as the video shows, he’s not the straightest hitter, but even when he nails the middle of the fairway, the ball is gone by the time he gets there.
“Someone picked it up and had a pen for me to sign it.”
Today’s links have a US feel – basketball, baseball and football. Check them out:
Jon Pastuszek at Niubball has the scoop on who could be the next NBA superstar to play in the CBA (clue: it’s a BIG name!)
Manny Ramirez could end up playing baseball in Taiwan and The Hall of Very Good is hoping that Taiwan’s legendary animators NMA work their Manny magic once again.
War Room Sports has an interview with Ron “Jaws” Jaworski, ESPN analyst and former Eagles QB and the man behind the Arena Football League’s push into China.