When Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger visited Beijing last summer, there was one question in his mind. At a press conference, he asked the moderator, Huang Jianxiang, a well-known local football commentator, why China, with so many people, lacked a first-rate football team.
The question was laughed off by the commentator, who replied that it was because “We never had a coach like you.”
An op-ed on how despite the rise in sporting venues throughout China, the country's sports stadiums remain empty once the lights fade and the games conclude.
There is no question that large, global sporting events can help change the image of a city. Governments use the spectacles as a means to redevelop or invest further in a city’s infrastructure. South Africa proposed a nine billion rand — or about 1.7 billion USD — budget on city infrastructure projects for next year’s World Cup. According to the Beijing Organizing Committee, the 2008 Olympic Games saw about 60 billion USD invested in city-wide infrastructure projects, which included new stadium venues for the sporting events.
A misstep cost He Wenna (何雯娜), China's first trampoline Olympic champion, 0.9 point in the final, ranking 5th by the end. And Zhong Xingping (钟杏平), an athlete from Guangdong team, won the champion. But He's words after the final made one think that match-fixing at the 11th National Games is rampant.
For those of you not familiar, China's National Games is held every four years in the country since 1975, when the Cultural Revolution was coming to an end. This year the 11th National Games will be held in Shandong Province, from October 16th to 28th. Every four years, the best players in national teams go back to their hometowns to win glory for their provincial teams.
There are 46 teams participating this time: 4 municipality teams, 22 provincial teams, 5 autonomous region teams and the People's Liberation Army team. The PLA is a big player every time. Also on the list are some sports association teams for certain industries such as aviation, forestry, communication, etc., who participate just for the sake of participating. The Games can usually tell you who will compete in the next Olympics. So if you're thinking about the London 2012, better keep an eye on these new Chinese champions.