What do the locals in China think about our roaring game? Or more specifically what do they think about China’s chances at winning a medal in Sochi?
Here’s a story from a Chinese publication, China Daily, that details the Bingyu Wang team’s ups and downs over the last few years. Much of it surrounds the departure and return of third Liu Yin:
After Vancouver, veteran third stone Liu Yin left the team and went to study abroad.Her absence took its toll on the Chinese team as it finished a worst-ever 11that the World Curling Championships in Canada in March. Liu, 31, was called backto the team in July with the initial aim of qualifying for the Olympics. TheYichun event was a reunion event, of sorts, for the side.
The article also talks about the growth – if you can call it that – of curling in general in China. It's long been hoped that there would be more curlers in China as opposed to just a selection of competitive athletes. That may be happening
"The future of curling in China is as important as the Olympic prospects," Zhao Yinggang, director of the China Winter Sports Administrative Center. "We have cities such as Yichun which pay lots of attention to curling development, I have no doubt curling will enjoy healthy growth in China."
Considering China currently only has four standard curling halls- two in Harbin and one each in Beijing and Yichun - its achievements in thesport are praiseworthy. Besides the women's 2009 World Championship gold andthe Olympic bronze, the Chinese men's curlers are also winning respect; they finished sixth at the 2012 World Curling Championship in Canada.
If curling is to grow in any way internationally, a key must be to get the masses playing regularly in the world’s most populous country. Having a small selection of elites tossing stones might help at the Olympic level but so far there aren't many big signs that it's transferring to lower levels.