Ryuki Omura, a 16-year-old Japanese high school student, has become the first nationwide pen spinning champion in Japan. [Reuters]

Omura was among the 16 finalists chosen from 276 video entries to showcase his moves in Tokyo on Sunday (Mar 30) in a contest organized by the Pen Spinning Association Japan.

You can watch Omura’s video entries here.

Video with some slick pen spinning moves by various Japanese pen spinners
(not related to the competition)


China continues their domination at the World Team Table Tennis Championships by winning both the men and women’s event in Guangzhou, China.

The Chinese men was crowned on Sunday (March 2), their fourth successive title, after defeating South Koreans. The women claimed their eighth successive title a day earlier after beating the Singapore team.

Chinese men winning the World Team Table Tennis Championships 2008 Chinese women winning the World Team Table Tennis Championships 2008
Chinese men and women with their world championship trophies (Image via Xinhuanet)

Soccer star David Beckham is in Korea with the Los Angeles Galaxy team in their Asia tour. LA Galaxy will play a friendly match against FC Seoul on March 1 at Seoul World Cup Stadium.

The former England captain will also attend some private functions to meet his fans as well as endorsing some products for his sponsors.

David Beckham in Korea with LA Galaxy
David Beckham in a press conference in Seoul (Image courtesy of Newsen)

LA Galaxy will also play against Shanghai-Hong Kong United in Shanghai, China on March 5. There are news that they will be playing in Hong Kong on March 9 as well, but the schedule has not been confirmed yet.

Tomiyasu Ishikawa, a 71-year-old Japanese climber, is believed to have become the oldest person in the world to scale the Seven Summits – the highest mountains of each of the seven continents. [Mainichi]

Ishikawa on Jan 21, has conquered Antarctica’s 4,897-metre Vinson Massif, the last of the seven peaks he was climbing.

Seems like Japanese old folks are enjoying mountaineering very much. In May 2007, another 71-year-old Japanese Katsusuke Yanagisawa became the oldest person to scale Mt Everest, a record once hold by Ishikawa when he conquered the world’s highest mountain in 2002.

The Seven Summits are Everest (Asia), Kilimanjaro (Africa), Elbrus (Europe), Denali (N. America), Aconcagua (S. America), Carstensz Pyramid (Oceania) and Vinson Massif (Antarctica).

Japanese golfer Ryo Ishikawa turns pro

16-year-old Japanese golf prodigy Ryo Ishikawa has become a professional golfer; he made the announcement last Thursday (Jan 10).

Ishikawa shocked the golfing world in 2007 when he becomes the youngest golfer to win a Japanese male tournament by winning the Munsingwear Open in May. He can now add another record to his bag… as the youngest pro in Japanese golf history.

The 16-year-old has become a sensation in Japan after winning the Musingwear trophy, with large crowds following him around at every tournament he plays. He got a nickname from his fans, hanikami oji (bashful prince) for his soft-spoken manner and cute looks.

Thousands of people had took part in a tug-of-war in Changsha of central China’s Hunan province on Sunday (Jan 7), which was staged in conjunction with the arrival of 2008 Beijing Olympic torchbearers.

2008 people in tug of war in China 2008 people in tug of war in China
Thousands of people in tug-of-war (Image courtesy of Xiaoxiang Morning Post)

2008 of the participants were drafted from Hunan University to symbolise the Beijing Olympic in summer 2008; a few thousands of other participants also took part in the competition. Chinese Olympic champions and local celebrities had attended to event to show their support as well.

A cable-like-rope more than a kilometre in length and 3 tonnes in weight was specially made by a steamship maker for this event.

Tug-of-war was one of the programs in Summer Olympic; it was almost a century ago since it was last held though (1900-1920).

South Korean boxer Choi Yo-sam, who fell into coma after winning the World Boxing Organization (WBO) intercontinental flyweight title on Christmas Day, was declared dead early Thursday (Jan 3) from head injury (brain hemorrhage).

Korean boxer Choi Yo-sam final fight against Heri Amol
Choi’s final fight (Image courtesy of Chosun)

Choi, 33, won the WBO title on a unanimous decision over Indonesian boxer Heri Amol, but was knocked down by his opponent just before the end of the final round. Choi managed to get back to his feet and became the winner on points before collapsing again.

Choi was declared brain dead on Wednesday (Jan 2), and was pronounced legally dead at 00:01 on Thusday morning after being taken off his life support machine. Choi’s family decided to donate his organs in accordance with his wishes, which benefited six people in need.

Rest in peace Mr Choi Yo-sam.

Chinese basketball star Yi Jianlian made his NBA debut on October 31, playing against the Orlando Magic. The Milwaukee Bucks rookie managed 9 points, 3 rebounds and 2 blocks before fouling out. Orlando won the game 102-83.

Chinese basketball player Yi Jianlian makes NBA debut
Yi Jianlian in action against Orlando Magic (Image courtesy of Xinhuanet)

It is not a superb debut, but Yi’s performance was quite ok. The press and Chinese basketball fans are comparing him with another Chinese NBA star, Yao Ming, who failed to score a single point in his first NBA game… so Yi did make a relatively convincing start in NBA.

Despite a poor debut, Yao Ming has become an important player in the league. It is still remain to be seen if Yi Jianlian could match Yao’s performances and cultural impact, but both the US and Chinese media will be watching him closely for the NBA season.

One thing that Yi needs to address seriously is his foul trouble. He was fouled out again in his 2nd match, this time against Charlotte Bobcats on Friday… Milwaukee lost their 2nd game in a role.

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