Chengdu sports briefs: Kobe, Rodrigues, horses
Kobe Bryant to visit Chengdu
Nike announced that it would host 2009 NBA Champion and Finals MVP Kobe Bryant on a six-city tour of Asia. The tour will include stops in Manila, Singapore, Taipei, Hong Kong, Shanghai and will arrive in Chengdu on July 26. Kobe toured with Nike in the summers of 2006 and 2007, and as part of the USA basketball team leading up to the 2008 Beijing Olympics where he led the team to gold.
This summer's tour offers the Los Angeles Lakers star a chance to check back in with young players he met on previous tours and meet up-and-coming players he hopes to inspire. "I'm looking forward to returning to Asia to see the progress the kids have made since my last visit," said Bryant. During his Asia tour with Nike, Kobe will continue his spirit of giving by participating in charity events with his fans at various stops along the tour.
Sheffield United's Rodrigues detained during police raid
Chengdu Sheffield United's Brazilian forward Auricelio Neres Rodrigues was detained for allegedly visiting a prostitute in a Shenzhen nightclub Tuesday. Rodrigues was among seven foreigners picked up by Futian police at a nightclub in Nanyuan, Luohu District, during a raid on drugs, gambling, and prostitution on Monday. Rodrigues was originally scheduled to go to Brazil on vacation from Shenzhen via Hong Kong on the 7th, but was detained the day prior, remaining in police custody for five days, police said.
Of the 11 goals ever scored by Sheffield United, five were made by Rodrigues.
The Chengdu team denied media reports that Rodrigues will be dismissed, given the validity of his contract and his vital role on the team. However, according to Chinese law, any expatriate can be ordered to leave China or have his or her legal stay in the country shortened if national laws are violated.
RMB1.1 billion equestrian park to open in 2011
The first ever Western China International Equestrian Forum was held in Wenjiang on July 3.
Construction on a top-notch, RMB1.1 billion equestrian center is scheduled to start in 2009 in Wenjiang, one of Chengdu's wealthy western suburbs.
Although China hasn't yet seen an international star rider, the equestrian industry is seeing steady growth in the country. In 2006, there were an estimated 200 riding-club members in Chengdu; today this number is in the thousands.
Under criticism that the municipal government is needlessly throwing huge sums of money into a classically upper-class sport, Li Bin, deputy secretary-general of the city's Equestrian Association, said, "Compared to golf, it is not that expensive," adding that the the growth of the industry will create two to three thousand jobs, from breeders to trainers, feeders and caretakers.
Currently, the cost of riding at a Chengdu equestrian club ranges from RMB200 to 300 for 45 minutes.