China wins curling worlds
China likes gold medals. Exhibit A: Its state sports system has produced a world champion curling team seemingly out of nowhere. China beat out Canada for the gold over the weekend to win the Women’s World Curling Championships in South Korea. Last year’s silver was China’s first medal in the 30-year history of the tournament. Canadian Daniel Rafael coaches the team, which was started in 2001. The team skip, Wang Bingyu （王冰玉), hails from China’s far-north, famously frozen city of Harbin and has been on the team since it was created. A look at her Wikipedia entry will give you an idea how rapid the ascent of China’s curling team has been.
Divers go 7 for 8 at Changzhou
China’s divers took seven out of eight golds at the FINA World Grand Prix event in Changzhou over the weekend. The only event that China conceded was the women’s three-meter springboard. Sharleen Stratton of Australia won that one after China’s Wu Minxia failed to qualify for the final. China’s top female three-meter diver, Guo Jingjing, did not compete. Two dates remain on the 2009 Grand Prix circuit–Sheffield, England, on April 18-19; and Mexico City April 24-25.
New coach for women’s basketball
China named Sun Fengwu head coach of its national women’s basketball program. He replaces Australian Tom Maher, who led the team to a fourth-place Olympic finish and also seems to have been quite well-liked by players and fans. Sun was a point guard for China’s men’s team in the 1980s and led China’s women’s youth team to a bronze at the 2002 world championships. The pressure is on for Sun to lead the team to a medal at the 2012 Olympics in London, but in his more immediate sights are the following competitions:
Asian Championships in Chinese Taipei starting June 21
World Championships in Czech Republic, September 23 to October 3, 2010
Asian Games in Guangzhou, November 2010
The team will look pretty different by 2012, Sun told Xinhua. He expects that only three to five players from the current squad will still be around then.
Yao Ming gets waxed
Madame Tussaud’s Shanghai’s wax sculpture of Yao Ming is currently on loanto Madame Tussaud’s in New York. Wax Yao, whose height reportedly called for the use of scaffolding in the construction process, was unveiled with a show featuring a troupe of Chinese acrobats. Personally, the place creeps me out and in five years in New York, I never set foot inside. But apparently the new Madame Tussaud’s Sports Zone offers activities like playing Wii tennis with Billie Jean King. Maybe, just maybe, that could draw me in. (Note to Western journalists: If you want to call the guy by his surname, it’s Yao, not Ming.)
Curling team image: Sina.com