An Australian sporting invasion officially hit Chengdu last weekend. The Chengdu Australian Rules Football Club (CDARFC) launched their premier team the Chengdu Roos at the Chengdu Nines competition.
A combination of expatriate Australians’, local residents and other foreign nationals, the Chengdu Roos hit the field for the first time playing the Shanghai Tigers for the Nines Cup. The Shanghai Tigers took out the coveted trophy but the competition was a huge success for Chengdu with the next Nines already in the planning for March 2015.
The establishment of AFL in China isn’t new, with the game first hitting the shores of China in 2010 for an exhibition match in Shanghai. An academy was developed in 2011 and with it a dedicated AFL oval in Tianjin. Since this time, there has been increased interest in the Australian sporting code and there are now four teams across China – the Beijing Bombers, Guangzhou Scorpions, Shanghai Tigers and the Tianjin Demons.
Clint Wood, Principal of PLACE Design Group in Chengdu was one expat flying the Australian flag on the weekend, both as player and company sponsor to the newly formed team.
“It was a privilege to be involved with this dynamic partnership; playing in and sponsoring a new and upcoming team like the Chengdu Roo’s. There is a budding interest that is resulting in the globalisation of this iconic Australian sport which is terrific to see. PLACE Design Group has been doing business in China since 2001 and it is nice to see a meshing of cultures and community engagement on a different playing field,” says Clint.
The expansion of Australian Rules Football in China aims to build a community platform that will promote social interaction and provide sporting diversity in China. Austrade were involved in the development of the Chengdu Nines and engaged the likes of Consular General Nancy Gordon to participate at the official awards ceremony after the tournament.
The Chengdu Chongqing local derby is currently in the planning phase and due to launch later this year. For details and sporting code updates visit www.afl-asia.com.