China’s men’s basketball team managed to finish fifth at the FIBA Asian Championships, which concluded Sunday. China defeated Qatar in the fifth-place game, but had earlier been beaten by Chinese Taipei (Taiwan) in the quarterfinals. Taiwan was very ecstatic over this victory, being the first ever over China in men’s basketball, but were quickly brought down to earth by losing to Iran in the semifinals and then trounced by archrival in everything South Korea in the third-place game. Taiwan had a good tournament in general, but their poor ending kind of mirrored their showing at the World Baseball Classic earlier this year, when they did well to advance to the knockout stage but lost their last three games. I don’t know if it’s a case of freezing in the big time or just not having the guts or ability to overcome tough foes. One of Taiwan’s best players in the FIBA tournament was a naturalized black American, who only got his Taiwanese citizenship last month. For China’s basketball team, who were the defending Asian champions but had a terrible showing at the 2012 Olympics, I really hope they don’t become like the men’s football team and go through a long period of futility. The top three teams in this tournament automatically qualify for next year’s international basketball championship, so China is out of that.
Moving on to football, the 2022 World Cup, which was awarded to Qatar, might be in danger of moving to winter. It’s always been played in the summer, such as June and July, but due to Qatar’s hot summers, where temperatures can go up to 50 degrees Celsius, some FIFA officials are seriously considering changing the date to January, which would be good for the health of the players and fans. But if so, I think Qatar should not have been awarded the World Cup in the first place, and a new vote should be held. Qatar won the right to host the 2022 tournament over the likes of Australia, South Korea, and the US. On paper it was momentous because Qatar would be the first Middle Eastern and Islamic nation to host the World Cup, but in reality I think it was a farce. Qatar has little football or sporting heritage and their bid was full of superficial and unrealistic aspects such as air-conditioned stadiums which could supposedly even be dismantled and donated to poorer countries. It’s obvious oil wealth was a big reason they were successful, such as their hiring big names in football to lobby for them, but besides that, nothing really. Anyways, whenever and wherever the 2022 World Cup ends up being held, I just want China to be in it.