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Report on the 2005 Shanghai Asian Games


Asian Games 2005
Gelsinen was kind enough to forward about 50 pages of comment
and reports on the Asian Games the following gives us a flavour
of whats happening in that part of the world

welcomed the DHL Asian Gaelic Games to China for the first
time from the 23rd to 25th of September 2005, The annual
Asian Gaelic Games, the largest amateur sport event in Asia,
featured both Gaelic Football and Hurling. The event showcased
the best of Ireland’s sport and culture and attracted over
30 teams, more than 450 athletes from more than 10 countries,
and welcomed close to 2500 spectators. To leverage Enterprise-Ireland
role as a main sponsor and contribute to Ireland and Enterprise-Ireland
profile and reputation with the public, a PR was initiated
to including a Media Day, a Kids Day, and an Opening Ceremony
was implemented.

Media Gaelic Football Day, held on 10th September 2005,
two weeks before the Asian Gaelic Games Opening Ceremony,
introduced media to Gaelic Football and generated initial
coverage for the tournament. In a relaxed and friendly atmosphere,
8 influential journalists attended the briefing and learned
how to play Gaelic football. After the training, journalists
chatted with team members to learn about the Shanghai teams’
hopes of winning the Football tournament and why they wanted
to take part in the event.


September 14th, during Children’s Day, the Shanghai Gaelic
Football Club, with the support of Enterprise Ireland successfully
launched the first training class of a new long-term program
designed to introduce Shanghai elementary school students
to Ireland’s age old Gaelic Football. The event, succeeded
in educating the media and the public and promoting the
upcoming Gaelic Games through proactive communications with
local media.

DHL Asian Gaelic Games opened with a bang on the night of
23rd September as more than 450 tournament participants
and guests including Mr. Noel Treacy T.D., Minster of State
for Foreign Affairs, His Excellency Mr. Declan Kelleher,
Irish Ambassador to China, Consul General Nicholas O’Brien,
Irish Government representatives, Mr. Kong, Deputy Director
of Shanghai Municipal People’s Government Foreign Affairs
Office, and major sponsors, including Gold Sponsor Enterprise
Ireland, celebrated the official opening of the DHL Asian
Gaelic Games at Shanghai’s Oriental Pearl TV Tower.


media attended the Opening Ceremony, including 14 domestic
media and 3 foreign media. Mr. Noel Treacy T.D., Minster
of State for Foreign Affairs, took questions from 7 media
followed by a Q&A session between Alan Buckley, China
Director, Enterprise Ireland and 4 media. The Opening Ceremony
held between 8:30-9:10pm included a short speech by the
Minister, ribbon-cutting ceremony by VIPs, and a nail-biting
team draw. After this, Consul General Nicholas O’Brien took
two 1:1 interviews lasting about 10 minutes each.

hosts ancient Irish sports festival
It took a move to ultramodern Shanghai to get Maria Gelsinen
playing Ireland’s ancient sport. Never much of an enthusiast
back home, Dublin-born Gelsinen found herself taking the
field as vice captain of Gaelic football’s Shanghai Sirens
women’s team in last weekend’s Asian Gaelic Games. “You
need something out here for your sanity,” said the
27-year-old property company marketing manager. “Shanghai
can be kind of stressful.” Gelsinen’s experience illustrates
the powerful hold Gaelic football has on the Irish imagination
at home and, increasingly, abroad. While expatriate communities
have always had their softball leagues and tennis clubs,
the passion and organizational effort surrounding Gaelic
football abroad is striking given both the size of the community
– just a few hundred in China – and for the sport’s relative
obscurity overseas. Strong Irish government and business
support helps defer costs for tournaments such as Shanghai’s
while offering companies an opportunity to push the Irish
brand. “Gaelic football has 250,000 players at home
and now we”re promoting it heavily abroad,” said Michael
Bowens, captain of the Shanghai Saints men’s team and a
player since age 10. Resembling a cross between soccer,
rugby and basketball, Gaelic football is 500 years old and
as much a part of the Irish identity as Yeats” poetry and
St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. Players on teams of 15 kick,
bounce and throw a round ball slightly smaller than that
used in soccer down a soccer-sized field. Points are scored
by either kicking the ball into the goal or between the
crossbars above it, with strategy, speed and stamina all
key. Tournaments have since been held all over the region,
with 10 teams from as far away as Dubai and Japan joining
in this year’s competition, which also featured hurling,
an Irish sport similar to hockey. Sunday’s finals at a British
school on Shanghai’s outskirts were attended by several
hundred shouting, cheering and Guinness Stout-sipping athletes
and supporters. The presence of a Chinese People’s Liberation
Army marching band was one of the few reminders that the
venue was in eastern China, not the Dublin suburbs. “The
Gaelic Games are a symbol of everything that is good about
Ireland, our culture and people,” said Irish Foreign
Minister Noel Treacy, who was in Shanghai for Sunday’s finals.
“They”re a symbol,” he adds, “of our little
country’s uniqueness and dynamism.”



from China Daily
Gaelic football comes to Shanghai
It’s not soccer, rugby or Aussie rules, but it has elements
of all three and it is powered by a small but dedicated
– one could say addicted – fan base that plans to spread
it anywhere it can get a toe-hold.


football is Ireland’s most widespread contribution to the
world of sport.


is played with a round ball similar to, but a little heavier
than, a soccer ball. Use of hand passes is expected and
encouraged. It is a fast and high-scoring game.


think it attracts people who play the bigger games,”
explained New Zealander Ling Teo during a training session
a couple of weeks ago. “It has similar skill sets.”


weekend, about 450 players and 2,000 fans are expected at
three venues across Shanghai for the 10th Asian Gaelic Games.
It is the first time the tournament will be held here. In
the past, it has been held in Hong Kong, Manila and Phuket.


football is not as rough as rugby or Aussie rules but is
rougher than soccer. Most of the people who play are expatriates
used to the more violent games, although little by little,
locals are beginning to join.


come out to have a weekend of sport,” said the New
Zealander and former rugby player.


had some locals come out and say ‘that’s quite rough’.”


or not, a few have joined up, although they are mostly friends
of current players.


do hope to appeal to more Chinese,” said Maria Gilsenan,
spokesperson for the Shanghai games and a new convert who
has been playing for seven months.


football is played on a pitch about the size of a rugby
field. Official pitches are 150 metres by 90 metres. The
ball can be passed with hand or foot and points are scored
by either getting the ball into a soccer-like net for a
goal that’s worth three points or above it, between a pair
of rugby-like posts for a single point.

football predates rugby, Aussie rules and all the other
games it gets confused with,” said Michael Bowens,
a 25-year-old Irish IT professional who has been playing
for 15 years.


Gaelic Athletic Association, the sports governing body,
dates back to 1884. In Ireland alone, said Bowens, there
are 3,000 clubs.


been around for centuries,” he said. “It will
continue. The next step is development overseas.”


is the sport developing faster than in Asia.


first Asian Gaelic Games were held in 1995 with teams from
Taiwan, Hong Kong and Japan. The next year Singapore joined
in. The games were held in Phuket, Thailand, in 2002, and
Ireland’s president attended. The last two years, the tournament
was held in Hong Kong.


China, the sport is spreading. Beijing has two teams. Hong
Kong has enough teams to have a league of its own. Around
Shanghai, new teams are expected in Hangzhou and Suzhou
next year.


of the players – except for Irishmen who played in school
and have a national tradition of Gaelic football – have
much experience.


are all new to this game,” said Maria Gilsenan, a Irish
recruiter who moved to Shanghai in January and is now a
player in the local team. “It is really growing.”


Ireland, an Irish cultural agency dedicated to the development
of all things Irish, is backing the tournament organized
completely by volunteers.


aim of the weekend-long event – which kicks off Friday with
a an opening ceremony at the Pearl Tower – is to compete
but also to promote Ireland and its culture, explained Maria
Gilsenan, the tournament’s spokesperson.


the players and the fans, the weekend will offer a simpler
opportunity to just get out from the pavement and onto the


in Shanghai, it is such a drinking culture that people need
to do something else,” Gilsenan said.


more players are coming on board -about 100,000 players
around the world – the sport is still small.


the end of the day, it is always going to be an amateur
sport,” Gilsenan said. “It is not money led. It
is about the competition

prove too hot for Hong Kong
Thousands of Irish Gaelic football fans descended on the
city to watch Dubai beat Hong Kong and win the 10th Asian
Gaelic Games yesterday.

lively tournament of Irish sport that featured Asia’s first-ever
competitive hurling match, the People’s Liberation Army
provided the marching music and Arthur Guinness provided
the refreshments.

strong Dubai men’s side edged Hong Kong 2-8 to 2-6 to win
the tournament’s main prize, the Derek Brady Cup.

Asian Gaelic Games are one of Asia’s largest amateur sporting
events and featured 450 players on 35 teams from 10 Asian
countries, including Hong Kong, China, Singapore, Japan
and Dubai.

spectators’ favourite was the womens’ final between Beijing
and Dubai, a thrilling encounter, which the Beijing Banshees
won 5-4 to 4-3 after extra time.

only entered for the first time last year and lost five
out of five games back then without scoring a single point.
The same team came to Shanghai and marched away with the

is my third games and it just gets better and better, it’s
an original tournament. The competition is great and the
camaraderie is fantastic,” said Angela Keane, from
Lispole in Kerry, who was in the Beijing team.

first competitive hurling match was won by Seoul after beating
Beijing 2-5 to 2-8.

Treacy, Ireland’s Minister of European Affairs and a self-confessed
gaelic football fanatic, was watching the match.

standard is very good and the commitment is unbelievable.
As a spectator it’s highly enjoyable and some of these players
could hold their own at competitive level at any club in
the country,” said Treacy.

referees came out from Ireland to monitor proceedings and
they liked what they saw.

is great spirit and the players are very passionate, especially
in the later stages, when they players can smell the silverware,”
said Jimmy McKee, from Armagh, who travelled to Shanghai
for the matches.

2,000 spectators turned out for the two-day event to watch
the matches and the final took place at the Shanghai Rugby
Club. The first Asian Gaelic Games tournament took place
in Manila in 1995 and has become an annual event, being
played in Hong Kong last year.



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