China Sports Insider

New Year, new site.

After a lively first year, The Li-Ning Tower blog will continue but has been relaunched as China Sports Insider.

A relaunch and rebrand has been a long time coming, but the main points are that the blog will no longer:

ImagePlease bear with us as we reintroduce some older features and phase in some new ones, but rest assured that the content will follow on from 2013’s success, during which the blog was quoted or linked to by Bloomberg, USA Today, Huffington Post, CNBC, Quartz, New York Daily News,, Al Jazeera, China Daily and others.

Many thanks for all your support last year. Please continue to follow and share the blog! This site will soon automatically forward to China Sports Insider, but all of the site’s content will be kept.


China blamed for cyclist’s positive doping test?

Team Sky long ago set out their stall as being whiter than white in the historically murky world of cycling, and there has been no evidence of any impropriety by any of their riders while at Sky. But two riders with links to the team are in a bit of trouble right now. Current Sky rider Jonathan Tiernan-Locke is being investigated for an anti-doping violation dating to before he joined the team, and now Michael Rogers, who rode at Sky in support of Bradley Wiggins’ 2012 Tour de France victory but left shortly after admitting his past involvement with the Doping Doctor Michele Ferrari, has been provisionally suspended for testing positive for clenbuterol.


I’m an elite athlete and I’ll eat anything.

His excuse is pathetic. In a seven-sentence statement, the third and fourth ones are key: Continue reading

Leo’s coming to Beijing!

Leonardo DiCaprio is on his way to Beijing. That’s because the Hollywood heartthrob (TM) has co-founded the tenth and final Formula E team – the new electric race car series backed by the FIA, which kicks off in the Chinese capital next year. 

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No fairytale ending for Masters star Guan in Hong Kong

Chinese golfing prodigy Guan Tianlang made global headlines in April by becoming the youngest golfer ever to make the cut in a major championship, aged just 14. Now at the grand old age of 15, Guan was again competing against the pros last week, this time at the Hong Kong Open.


Photo credit: Getty Images

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China’s long road to the Winter Olympics

With Olympic visas already in force, it’s clear we’re in the final run-up to the Sochi Olympics. But as one cycle nears completion, another one is just starting. The quest to host the 2022 Winter Olympics has begun with six bids from Europe and Asia – including a Chinese bid from Beijing & Zhangjiakou – competing in a fascinating battle between traditional and developing winter sports markets.


The not so well known ski resort of Zhangjiakou

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Premier League’s China deal raises more questions than answers

First it was David Beckham, now it’s the entire English Premier League. After Becks made three visits to China this year to make money as a special ambassador for the Chinese Super League, a deal has been signed between the English Premier League and the Chinese Super League (CSL), to coincide with UK Prime Minister David Cameron’s current trip to China.


Graeme Le Saux shows he’s still got it

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Chinese officials: Sun Yang’s return imminent

Sun Yang is undoubtedly one of China’s top sports stars, in a bracket with tennis pioneer Li Na and perhaps badminton king Lin Dan as well. His commercial potential is huge, but he is his own worst enemy right now. Whereas Li’s image as a rebel, breaking free from the shackles of the state system, is not quite as the western media would have you believe, her conflicts with authority have in many ways added to her popularity – at least with the Chinese public, if not the domestic media.


Where’s the love? Sun Yang is not getting much right now…

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China’s tennis growth is impressive – but stats are still wrong

The growth in women’s tennis has been one of the great China stories – in sport or elsewhere – in recent years. Li Na was the obvious catalyst, and in particular her 2011 French Open win, but much of the credit has to go to the WTA’s CEO, Stacey Allaster. This excellent profile by a former colleague of mine tells you everything you need to know about Allaster, who got the top job in women’s tennis in 2009. 

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Chinese male nets return to Australian Open

Chinese tennis player Wu Di, who made history earlier this year by becoming the first Chinese man to play in a Grand Slam tournament, has qualified for next year’s tournament via the same process – by winning the Asia-Pacific wildcard playoff. The 22-year-old has not, by his own admission, had a good year, but said this gives him focus for the future. Wu also qualified for this year’s tournament, but lost in the first round to Croatia’s Ivan Dodig in four sets.


Wu Di is heading back to the Australian Open

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Pacquiao, Zou both win, but boxing’s future still uncertain in China

All promotion is about smoke and mirrors to some extent, and none more so than in boxing promotion. I’ve written before about the massaged truth behind exactly how many are actually watching boxing in China (rather than the “estimated” numbers, which are often then reported as fact).

Zou Shiming wins points decision over Juan Tozcano in MacauZou Shiming moved to 3-0 in his professional career with a one-sided points decision over Mexican Juan Tozcano in their six-round fight in Macau last weekend, but was it a convincing performance or just another tomato can victory? Again, it depends on who you believe. It’s telling, though, that six months into his China venture, Zou’s promoter Bob Arum has already conceded that the pay-per-view model won’t work (at least at the moment). That PPV model, of course, was the big reason why Arum tried to crack the China market in the first place.

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