sports stories

Here's an interesting article on the Boston Red Sox's other Japanese pitcher, 31-year-old rookie reliever Hideki Okajima: Boston's Other Japanese Pitcher. While he hasn't received quite as much fanfare and notoriety as Daisuke Matsuzaka, Okajima has quietly proven himself this season to be one of Boston's most valuable players.

It seems we're one step closer to a Chinese player in the NFL... last month, Chinese kicker Li Chaoran spent nine days at a training camp with the Oakland Raiders: Chinese Returns from NFL Training Camp. He didn't play, but attended practice, observed meetings, took part in a fan day and watched the Raiders' preseason opener against the Arizona Cardinals. Man, if the NFL can get a foothold in China... big money.

Meanwhile, in other football news... On Labor Day, Hawaii's Timmy Chang, who is now playing for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in the CFL, became the first person of Asian heritage to begin a game at quarterback at the pro level: Historic start for Chang. Chang signed with Hamilton this year after attending NFL training camps with the Arizona Cardinals, Detroit Lions and Philadelphia Eagles over the past two years, but being released by all three. While it would've been pretty awesome to see an Asian American quarterback in the NFl, this is still pretty historic. (EDIT: Roman Gabriel, who played in the NFL in the 1960s and 70s, was the first Asian American to start as a professional quarterback.)

Yao Ming and Steve Nash have partnered up and coordinated an effort to help Chinese orphans: Steve Nash and Yao Ming, Making Something Happen. On September 14 in Beijing, Nash and fellow NBA players Carmelo Anthony, Greg Oden, Bonzi Wells, Derek Fisher, Baron Davis, Chuck Hayes, and Leandro Barbosa will play in a charity game against Yao Ming and the Chinese National team, with the hope of raising a million dollars to be distributed to several charities: Chi Heng, a privately funded non-profit that works with children with AIDS; the Special Olympics (with World Summer Games next month in Shanghai); and the China Youth Development Foundation.

And finally, this is an interesting story in the Los Angeles Times on the significant number of Chinese men currently coaching world-class gymnasts in the United States: When East meets Midwest. Two of the seven U.S. gymnasts at the world championships were coached by Chinese-born men, and a third by a Chinese American man. Here's a profile on one of the gymnasts, 14-year-old Ivana Hong: Balance of Power. She may be young, but she's tough.

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