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Volume 6 No. 214

Events and Attractions

The Int'l Ice Hockey Federation has officially received the bids for the right to host the 81st IIHF World Championship in '17. There will be two co-hosting bids for the tournament, one from Germany-France and the other from Denmark-Latvia. The plan of the Germany-France bid is to have Cologne, Germany as the primary venue, with the secondary venue located at the Palais Omnisport Paris-Bercy Arena in Paris. Cologne’s Lanxess Arena -- the biggest arena in Europe with a capacity for 18,000 spectators -- will host the semifinals and medal games. For Denmark, the main host for the championship, the '17 tournament would be the single biggest sporting event that the country has ever hosted. The site for the games in Denmark will be Copenhagen Arena, a planned multi-use indoor arena in the neighborhood of Ørestad Syd. Construction of the arena is set to begin in mid-'13, and will be able to host up to 12,500 spectators (IIHF). The German Hockey Federation (DEB) decided to go with Cologne instead of Berlin due to Cologne's closer proximity to Paris, its commuting area of around 32 million people in a 100km radius, the central location for hockey fans from both Germany and France as well as the distinctively higher capacity of the Lanxess Arena (DEB). The AP noted when Germany hosted the tournament in '10, "more than 77,000 fans were present in Gelsenkirchen for the opening match" between Germany and the U.S. (AP, 1/11).

Organizers of the Stuttgart, Germany ATP tennis tournament, which is played at the facility of TC Weissenhof, "have officially submitted their application to host a grass tournament to the ATP," according to the SID. Tournament Dir Edwin Weindorfer said that "further talks with ATP officials will take place at the Australian Open." The ATP "has created an additional slot for a grass tournament in the '15 tour calendar following the French Open in June as Wimbledon will be pushed back for a week." If Stuttgart is awarded the tournament, organizers said that "the TC Weissenhof facility will turn five clay courts into permanent grass courts." Weissenhof Chair Gert Brandner said, "We expect a noticeably stronger field of players and an even better tournament with a touch of Wimbledon from switching the tournament week" (SID, 1/11).

Int'l sports promoter Barry Hearn "has challenged Hong Kong to become a major player in turning table tennis into a million-dollar glamour sport," according to Peter Simpson of the SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST. Hearn launched the World Championship of Ping Pong in London last weekend, aiming to make his version of table tennis more "rock and roll." He wants to "turn it into a global TV spectator event." He now "plans to construct a global ping pong qualifying infrastructure and then replicate the model as a franchise in selected territories around the world, and hopes Hong Kong is part of that." Hearn said that viewer figures from the two-day championship's live TV screening "trebled expected figures." Hearn: "The response I have had from TV companies and sponsors has been brilliant" (SCMP, 1/13).

The Dakar Rally was hit by another death "as a French motorbike rider was killed following a collision with a Chilean police car." Thomas Bourgin, 25, "was on his way to start the seventh stage of the race when he was hit by the vehicle, which was traveling in the opposite direction." An inquiry "has been launched into the incident, which comes after the deaths of two people following a crash between a taxi and a team support vehicle in the town of Tacna, close to the Chilean border" (CNN, 1/11). ... With four days to go until the second one-day int'l between India and England, the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium in Kochi "is buzzing with activity." Kerala Cricket Association officials said that tickets worth Rs 78 lakh ($142,300) "have been sold for the match." KCA expects to sell tickets worth Rs 1.50 crores ($274,000) by match day. More than 250 cricket enthusiasts from England "have already booked tickets online" (TNN, 1/12). ... The head of the Russian Curling Federation said that "workers are putting the finishing touches to the Sochi 2014 Olympic curling arena just four days before it hosts its first int'l test event." The Ice Cube Curling Center "was supposed to be finished last month, but delays have left little room for error" ahead of the start of the world wheelchair curling championships on Wednesday (R-SPORT, 1/12).