I’ve written before about Chinese telecoms company Huawei using sports and entertainment to combat the atrocious PR it tends to get around the world. That trend is continuing, but the company now appears to be spurning the US and focusing more on Europe.
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.
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
A round-up of what’s been happening this week (Beckham stuff at the end!):
The NBA announced eight international preseason games for next season. For Asian fans that means Pacers vs Rockets, Manila, Oct 10; Pacers vs Rockets, Taipei, Oct 13; Lakers vs Warriors, Beijing, Oct 15; and Lakers vs Warrior, Shanghai, Oct 18.
Former NFL safety Jack Brewer, who is very active promoting the game in China, admitted to me recently that the NFL had made some serious missteps in the past here by rushing in too quickly and then having to retreat somewhat.
“It’s the NFL. We’re Americans. When are we not overambitious?”
But he added that the league has learned from that and is now taking a slower, grassroots approach that it hopes will be more sustainable. Either way, it won’t be clear for years whether the NFL has a serious future in China. In a perfect world, one or more promising Chinese kids will move to the US and make it in the NFL, but that won’t be happening anytime soon – if ever – and involves so many variables. So the alternative is to try and make progress inch by inch.