Ahead of Paris Olympics, China takes steps to curb unruly sports fans

1 month ago 73

Updated

Jun 18, 2024, 10:07 AM

Published

Jun 18, 2024, 09:45 AM

BEIJING – When Chinese paddler Wang Manyu failed to make the Paris Olympics women’s singles team in May 2024, her fans felt the decision was unfair.

Many backed a 10,000-word petition to the General Administration of Sport of China – the country’s sport governing body – outlining five ways they feel the selection criteria should be improved.

For China’s fiercely competitive table tennis team, selection is based on a points system that includes performances at major competitions and track record against foreign players.

But other fans took more extreme steps.

They incited others to send protest spam e-mail and make phone calls to the sports authority, and spread rumours that teammate Chen Meng, who had edged out Wang for the second and final singles spot, had benefited from the head coach’s favouritism.

The passion of Chinese sports fans was on display in Singapore earlier last week, when they showed up in large numbers at Lions goalkeeper Hassan Sunny’s nasi padang stall in Tampines, to thank him for his performance in a June 11 football match against Thailand.

The Singapore team’s 3-1 loss meant that China’s hopes of qualifying for the 2026 World Cup were kept alive. Thailand needed to win by a three-goal margin to advance to the final round of Asia’s qualifiers. Instead, that spot went to China.

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