I am having fun!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008 11:01 AM

Hi Again!

Another day is almost finished here in Beijing. I had a very busy day today. I went running in the morning with my Iranian friend, Kaveh. After that, we headed to the Judo arena, and watched some 90kg men and 70kg women clobber each other for a couple of hours. This was my first experience watching this sport, but hopefully it won't be my last. These men and women were extremely fast and strong despite their size. Each 'match' has a 5min time limit, and points are awarded for various levels of successful or semi-successful attacking maneuvers, the ultimate goal being a ippon (a full tackle of the opponent onto his/her back). We ended up seeing about 20 fights in total, and each match saw displayed some great action. We saw one fight where a girl took the other down in 6 seconds! They just walked up to each other, and the one did some crazy flip move that put the other fighter on her back, just like that. Other matches were much more even, being won by a single point 1-0...(just for your information, an ippon gives 1000, while a semi takedown scores a hundred. a 1 or a 10 are given for lesser moves or attempts)

After our intro session to Judo, we headed back to the village to hang around for a couple of hours. We then headed to the Stadium court at the tennis facility, where I was treated to another highlight of my experiences here thus far. Before today, I had never seen live tennis; I've only watched it on tv. I think I can honestly say that I have always appreciated tennis, knowing that it must be extremely tough, just like any sport at a top level. Well, sitting there, watching World number 1, Roger Federer, playing against Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic (the player who actually beat Federer at the last Olympics four years ago), I gained a whole NEW level of appreciation for the game. Though maybe there is not quite as much running as in badminton, there is definitely just as much reaction time and timing required. These guys were absolutely NAILING the tennis ball. I couldn't believe how deep and how hard these guys play their ground strokes. It is much, much more impressive in person. Roger won the first set quite comfortably and was down 3-0 in the second, before playing awsome again and coming back to win it 7-6 in a tiebreak. What a match! Well, maybe it wasn't as dramatic as the Wimbledon final, but it was impressive. I think I saw Roger miss perhaps 6 service returns in the whole match, despite his opponent hitting incredibly hard serves... Well, you get the idea.

I think I have another busy day tomorrow. I will either go watch fencing or badminton in the morning, followed by some training in the afternoon, and then watch the evening session of badminton later on....

Have a great day there in North America!



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