Freeman Cebu Sports

Chinese invasion

WRECKORDER - FGS Gujilde - The Freeman

Japan is in cloud nine, floating after golf superstar Hideki Matsuyama made history on Monday as the first Japanese man to win the Masters title by one stroke, the most prestigious of all major championships. The most disciplined people on earth celebrate in momentary relief from uncertainty and scrutiny of the Tokyo Olympics in three months while the crowned virus mutates.

But he is not the first Asian man to invade the impenetrable crucible golf major. In 2009, Y.E. Yang of South Korea tamed the tiger in the woods to win PGA. These and more, today and many more before and in the future, threaten the world. The once timid, subdued, vertically and horizontally challenged Asian athletes brought down continental barrier in all fronts. It was just a matter of time before the biggest continent on earth finally occupied space.

We don’t have to go far, we gifted the world with Manny Pacquiao who at his peak won in eight divisions. Such dominance. When he lacked for foes, he didn’t wait but found them by changing weight. Hall of famer Paeng Nepomuceno bowled the world over as the winningest, including four world titles from three different decades. Consistency and longevity.

But China leads the pack. It exported its great wall to the ultimate basketball league in the world – the centerpiece Yao Ming. Li Na became the first Asian to win a tennis singles major. Twice. Japanese Naomi Osaka doubled it, and counting.

Nowhere is China more imposing than in amateur sports, virtually owning table tennis, badminton, diving, shooting, gymnastics and weightlifting in the Olympics. Swimming too, fencing, archery, cycling, boxing and women’s volleyball. And track and field. But before them, Sri Lankan sprinter Susanthika Jayasinghe medaled in the 200m in Sydney, a testament that despite lack of money to train its athletic army, a rarity may be born to a poor country. But ours doesn’t lack for money, it is just not spent the way it should be.

Then Lu Xiang won the 110m hurdles in Athens to become China’s first male gold medalist in athletics. Way earlier, its female middle distance runners incredibly rewrote records with untouchable times during the 1993 worlds. But the women who endured brutal training and miracle elixirs of turtle blood and caterpillar fungus never came back. Sudden rise and demise. Or from drugs to rags. 

But now the powerhouse flashes back its lightning speed in athletics, with its sprint relay team medalling in the worlds. Just like the continent where it reigns supreme, it is just a matter of time before the red hot country dashes to sprinting supremacy. Expectedly, it has a gene pool of about a quarter of world population. Ratio and proportion, they have huge probability to find that one in a billion world champion owing to its oversized population. Must be why it needs more space to accommodate its populace.


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