From China’s security forces to the humble Cristiano Ronaldo: our 7 sporting stars of 2015
Fifa was the gift that kept on giving, but what else delighted us from the year in sport?
The final column of the year, so it’s time for that traditional last resort of the hack who has been indulging freely of the festive cheer and is devoid of both ideas and functioning neurons: the annual awards piece. So start the fanfare please as we unveil the winners and losers of the year in sport in Hong Kong and beyond:
The Jackie Chan medal for barefaced sooking-up to China:Special mention for the English Football Hall of Fame for inducting the legendary Sun Jihai, but it goes to George Osborne, Britain’s chancellor of the exchequer, who pledged to spend £3 million of UK taxpayers’ money to develop football in China. “Grassroots football plays an instrumental role in UK life and it is brilliant to be able to spread that,” said Osborne in Xinjiang in September, unconcerned by the fact that his party has all but destroyed UK grassroots football.
The Blue Girl silver beer stein for boosting alcohol sales: In 2015 Hong Kong excelled at pursuits which can be – indeed, should be – played while slightly drunk. Ng On-yee took snooker’s women’s world championship in April. In June, Royden Lam Ting-chi and Scott Mackenzie reached the quarter-finals of the World Cup of Darts. And last month Wu Siu-hong won 10-pin bowling’s World Cup in Las Vegas. Terrific achievements, and reassurance for those of troubled by nagging doubts that spending all our time in bars and pool halls is possibly not the pathway to success. As tiebreaker, whoever can down a yard of ale fastest will be given the award.
The golden goose for the gift that keeps on giving: A unanimous decision to hand the prize to US federal prosecutors, whose Fifa investigation has delivered countless delightful moments: fat cats being hauled away under the lush cotton sheets of Zurich’s Baur au Lac hotel; Sepp Blatter being showered in fake money; Jack Warner getting involved in a YouTube war with comedian John Oliver; supergrass Chuck Blazer’s collection of fancy-dress photos ... the list goes on, with the promise of many more in 2016, hopefully culminating with Blatter weeping as he’s led off to jail.
Say what you like about Chuck Blazer, but the man brought his A-game to CONCACAF's fancy-dress parties. pic.twitter.com/S5gBLoWEXP
— Adam Hurrey (@FootballCliches) May 27, 2015
The Rodney King golden billy-club for security enforcement: Congratulations to Shenzhen’s police and paramilitary troops, who somehow managed to contain the 2,200 rabid Hong Kong football fans who travelled for the World Cup qualifier against China in September. Perhaps 5,000 troopers succeeded in preventing Hong Kong’s fans – famed for their thirst for blood – from turning Bao’an Stadium into a pile of smoking rubble by valiantly confiscating flags and umbrellas and looking threatening.
The Kanye West silver mirror for maintaining an admirably high level of self-esteem: It’s another gong for Cristiano Ronaldo, who took his own self-regard to seemingly impossible new heights in 2015 by releasing a documentary about Cristiano Ronaldo. The film, titled Ronaldo, documents the glorious career of Cristiano Ronaldo and his stunning achievements and features touching intimate details of the lives of Cristiano Ronaldo, son Cristiano Ronaldo, and agent Jorge Mendes, described by Cristiano Ronaldo as “the best, the Cristiano Ronaldo of agents”.
The Albert Einstein inspirational poster for repeating the same thing over and over again and expecting different results: For the 30th year in a row, this goes to the Leisure and Cultural Services Department’s Expert Group on the Hong Kong Stadium Turf Pitch, who spent several months and millions of dollars to figure out how to improve a pitch that has been a laughing stock for years and decided to install exactly the same sub-standard surface once again. As long as we all agree never, ever to play any sport on it, the pitch should remain perfect for weeks to come.
The Douglas Adams golden carriage clock for loving the sound of deadlines as they whoosh by: No surprises here as the award once again goes to everyone involved in the non-building of the Kai Tak Sports Hub, first proposed in 2007 and which might possibly be opened some time before the sun goes red giant and consumes our galaxy. It was a close-run thing, however, as LegCo did actually approve some funding for pre-construction work. Thankfully however, we’re still not much nearer anyone actually sticking a spade into the ground.