The "gathering Sino-Japanese storm over a set of disputed islands has sent Shanghai authorities sprinting away from the Tokyo chemical company that has sponsored one of the city’s proudest sporting events for the past 16 years," according to James Areddy of the WALL STREET JOURNAL. A press conference for the upcoming Toray Cup Shanghai Int'l Marathon "was thrown into disarray" on Tuesday when local authorities abruptly called a halt to the proceedings. Later, officials explained in a statement that the event could not go ahead as planned "given current circumstances surrounding the Senkaku Islands." Relations between China and Japan "have grown increasingly testy in recent weeks owing to a series of provocations" related to the Senkakus, a set of rocky islands in the East China Sea that are administered by Japan but claimed by China. The Shanghai Municipal Sports Bureau said the marathon, an event named for Tokyo-based Toray Industries Inc., could not go ahead because “a marathon sponsored by and named for a Japanese company is not suitable to be launched” at such a time (WSJ, 9/11).
Events and Attractions
The Ultimate Fighting Championship "brought its razzle-dazzle to town" Thursday, according to Mathew Scott of the SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST. It declared its first-ever fights in North Asia and claimed that the event would be the "biggest show the region has ever seen with a global audience of around a billion fans." The UFC will host a card at the Venetian Macao-Resort Hotel's Cotai Arena on Nov. 10 that will include 10 Asian fighters. These fighters include China's Zhang Tiequan and Vietnam-born American Cung Le, "best known in Hong Kong for his appearance in Dir Peter Chan Ho-sun's multi-award winning film Bodyguards and Assassins." UFC Asia Managing Dir Mark Fischer said, "It'll be broadcast in 20 different languages and reach more than a billion homes around the world." He added that the UFC was developing a stable of Chinese fighters and bringing them to the U.S. for training and "sending coaches to the mainland to identify talent. " UFC is also looking at a "long-term partnership with the Venetian as host venue for its events" (SCMP, 9/7).
The 2013 Maybank Malaysian Open will carry an increased prize fund of $2.75M when the event returns to Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club from March 21-24. Tournament promoters GlobalOne announced that the prize purse will rise by $250,000 for the 52nd edition of the event, which has formed part of the the European Tour int'l schedule since '99 (European Tour). ... The UAE plans to host an inter-Arabian Gulf Rugby Sevens tournament to boost the sport regionally, ahead of the 2014 Asian Games and the 2016 Olympics. The event is also part of a drive to get Sevens into the West Asian Games (REUTERS, 9/6). ... FIFA President Sepp Blatter Friday said that Japan is being considered to host the 2019 Women's World Cup, "even though the country will stage the Rugby World Cup the same year." The 2019 Rugby World Cup will be played in Japan Sept. 6-Oct. 20 and Blatter said that Japan "could hold the women's tournament beforehand" (AP, 9/7). ... The Laureus Academy announced Rio de Janeiro has been chosen as host city of the Laureus World Sports Awards for '13 and '14. It will mark the first time the event will be held in the southern hemisphere since it began in '00 (XINHUA, 9/8).