China's Biggest Sports Winners and Losers in 2017

By That's, December 27, 2017

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201712/year-in-review-logo.jpgThose of us living in China might have been spared the tumultuous drama that our US counterparts have experienced in 2017, but like always, the Middle Kingdom has had its own fair share of attention-grabbing headlines. From the boom of shared bikes to a presidential visit from The Donald, our team has put together a list of 2017’s most unforgettable viral stories, recounting major events that defined the worlds of sports, tech, arts, fashion and food. Here’s to another year of eclectic, weird and wonderful life in China, we wouldn’t have it any other way. 

For more, follow our full 2017 Year in Review coverage. 

A look back at the winners and losers in this year of sport...

The Losers

Ethiopian Marathon Runners

Ethiopian Marathon Runners
The 2017 Wuxi Marathon took a strange turn due to a... strange turn. Two Ethiopian runners, Chala Lelisa Debele in yellow and Gardisa Birhanu Shumie in red, were comfortably leading when they failed to spot a 90-degree left turn 100 meters from the finish line. They continued going straight, leaving Khalid Kamal Yaseen of Bahrain, who was initially in third place, to steal in for a cheeky win.

Nick Kyrgios

Nick Kyrgios
The 22-year-old Aussie man-baby walked off court at the Shanghai Rolex Masters after losing the first set of his match to American Steve Johnson on a tiebreaker, having a tantrum at the umpire in the process. This coming after last year throwing a match against German Mischa Sverev, while asking an umpire, "Can you call time so I can finish this match and go home?" You go home Nick. Go home and never come back, you hear?

China Football Team

China World Cup Hopes Fade After 1-0 Loss to Iran
Victory against South Korea in March, after Marcello Lippi had been brought in as head coach, had Chinese fans daring to dream they could make the World Cup. After all, the Italian had not only won the World Cup itself in 2006, but also brought glory on China when he won the AFC Champions League with Guangzhou Evergrande in 2013. It was not to be, a 1-0 defeat to Iran meant no Russia next summer for Team China.

Carlos Tevez 

Carlos Tevez
A big fat flop is what the Argentine star has been at Shanghai Shenhua. Literally. Shenhua boss Wu Jingui declared in September that he would not pick the former Manchester United and City forward because he was overweight. Tevez, who is on a contract worth a reported GBP32 million a year, managed just four goals all season. So eight million pounds per goal. Money well spent…

UCLA Basketballers

UCLA Basketball Players
Three bad ballers were caught shoplifting from a Louis Vuitton store next to their Hangzhou hotel. One of them, LiAngelo Ball, is the younger brother of Los Angeles Lakers star Lonzo Ball and son of outspoken basketball sneaker entrepreneur LaVar Ball. Together, the family is the subject of reality show Ball in the Family. Now listen Ball boy, you've let UCLA down, you've let Donald Trump down, but most of all… you’ve got some great material for your show.

The Winners

Guangzhou Evergrande

Guangzhou Evergrande
Evergrande won their seventh consecutive Chinese Super League title with two games to spare. Ironically, it was the team’s bitter city rivals Guangzhou R&F who secured them the title with a 2-1 win over second placed Shanghai SIPG. Congratulations to Evergrande and their fans. But seven years, seriously?! Give someone else a chance, would ya…

Roger Federer

Federer in Shanghai
Sure, there was the small matter of winning the Shanghai Rolex Masters, his second Shanghai crown and sixth title of 2017. But Federer also made the most of the city - riding on the Shanghai Metro, meeting up with Yao Ming, and doing an impromptu dance-off with Mickey Mouse on court. Dad dancing with the Disney icon. Living. The. Dream.

Lewis Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton
The Brit recorded his fifth victory in the Chinese Grand Prix, to set him on his way to his fourth Drivers' Championship. And he managed to avoid the temptation of spraying his prize bottle of bubbly directly onto the face of one of the F1 grid girls, as he had done in 2015. Which was nice.

China Table Tennis

China Table TennisThe World Table Tennis Championships were held in Düsseldorf, Germany over the summer. Guess who won four of the five gold medals? Bet you can’t. Have a stab at it anyway though. Give up? Okay, it was China! China, winning at table tennis?! We know, we couldn’t believe it either. Unprecedented. A real turn up for the books…

Tianjin Quanjian

Tianjin Quanjian
The Chinese Super League newcomers clinched a place in the 2018 AFC Champions League with a dramatic 2-1win at champions Guangzhou Evergrande in the very last game of the season. The bad news for Tianjin is that Evergrande were so impressed by what they saw, they decided they wanted Quanjian’s CSL Manager of the Year Fabio Cannavaro back. And back to Guangzhou he went.

For more 2017 Year in Review coverage, click here.

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