The next big thing
Updated: 2011-01-02 09:39
By Yu Yilei (China Daily)
As I scan through our picks of top 10 Chinese sports newcomers in 2011, I can't help wondering - which one has the potential to become the next superstar in China?
As Yao Ming is battling against a career-threatening foot injury that has indefinitely sidelined basketball and hurdler Liu Xiang is still far from his best form, also due to a foot injury, China desperately needs another superstar to emerge to fill the vacuum.
Women's golfer Shi Yuting, the youngest entry on our list, is my favorite.
Compared with the other athletes on the list, Shi does not boast similar impressive competition records so far - four entries are Olympic or world champions and another two are Asian champions and medaled at the World Championships, while Shi's best result is a third-place finish at a CLPGA Tour in Shanghai last year.
But the maturity of her game (she is the youngest player to take part in a professional women's golf tournament), combined with the growing profile of golf in China thanks to its Olympic inclusion, is expectedly make Shi, who was born in Japan while her parents were working there, the next big thing to watch.
Shi has looked like a potential superstar since her childhood. She dominated the junior tour in China over the past two years, winning a stunning 15 titles, reminding me of American golfer Michelle Wie.
For Shi, her golf idol is world No 1 Ai Miyazato, whom she was lucky enough to play with during an exhibition game in Singapore last year.
Shi Yuting has it all - the talent, family support (her mother travels with her on the tour) and, more importantly, the growing interest and investment in golf in China.
It will be exciting to see whether she is able to grow into a superstar, like Miyazato, in the coming years.
Yu Yilei is the sports editor of China Daily. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Youngest golfer Shi Yuting, file photo. [Photo/Xinhua]
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