Big money


by Sunny
19th January, 2007 at 3:33 am    

Kiran Matharu, England’s youngest successful golfer, who happens to be female and Asian, has signed a six-figure deal (I’m assuming sponsorship), Urmee Khan finds in an interview for the Guardian. It’s enough to almost make me regret giving up golf when I was young.

In the world of professional golf, Kiran Matharu is an outsider thrice over: young, female and Asian. Late last year she qualified for the Ladies’ European Tour and will be its youngest player when she plays her first match at the beginning of February. She has won the English Ladies’ Amateur Championship, and the Faldo Junior Series, twice; and represented Great Britain and Ireland in the Curtis Cup. At 17, she is the same age as the international golfing superstar, Michelle Wie, but is already being touted as a better player.

C’mon Urmee, you could have told us more about this deal?

While we’re on the subject, the Sunday Times last weekend had a long article about the lack of Asian players in football. Worth reading for research and background etc.


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  1. Sajini — on 19th January, 2007 at 9:44 am  

    Inner-city academies are built with good intentions. However, the difference between Caribbean and Asian first generation working class immigrants is that the majority of Afro-Caribbeans came over with a good command of English and found it easier to interact with British society/values. Consequently, they’re aware of the opportunities football can bring & choose not to denigrate it the way Asians in the subcontinent did.

    The number of Asians playing professional football is going to increase *when* the parents of children living near the academies become aware of the benefits brought by ‘bending it like Beckham’. I’m confident numbers will grow now the second generation (born & brought up here) are having kids.

    Middle class Asians, OTOH, have priorities common to their counterparts of other races, e.g. a white collar career and a preference of cricket/rugby/rowing/tennis over football. If football does happen to be their sport of preference, they tend to follow the middle class tradition of being rubbish at it anyway.

  2. Sajini — on 19th January, 2007 at 9:47 am  

    PS Generations change mindsets. I’m middle class & happy for a child of mine to choose football as their vocation.

  3. what — on 19th January, 2007 at 10:16 am  

    what a PC comment Sajini…

    why do ppl only ever post the most socially acceptable easy to digest points?

    the reason why there are more blacks than asians in football is because of their bigger build/physique/aggression….pure and simple. how many asian sprinters have you seen? how many black?

    it amazes me how ppl always continue to deny the truth even though it is right there in front of them

  4. soru — on 19th January, 2007 at 10:59 am  

    Amazing how fast the genetic factors associated with skin colour have mutated. Only a generation ago, they were preventing all but a handful of black players from playing professional footbal, and now they are so superior noone else should bother showing up on the pitch.

    Must be some kind of genetic tampering going on, evolution doesn’t work that fast.

  5. Sahil — on 19th January, 2007 at 11:03 am  

    Errh, what, I think you’d notice that many Japanese are even samller physically than Indians, but they have a great footy team that’s improving year on year. Also if you look at the African Nations winners, many have been ‘Arab’ states. Football is about tradition, and who plays it regularly, and has the longest history. That’s why Brazil, Italy, Germany, Argentina always have strong teams and win, regardless of race.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/africa/3393561.stm

    I would agree with you more on ‘classical sports’ e.g. running. But interesting thing is that in long distance events, argubly more tactical, you again have winners from specific countries e.g. Kenya, Morocco etc.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Long-distance_track_event#10.2C000_meters

    I’d say the reason that most Asian’s are not in top flight football, is that it is highly frowned upon by their parents, Yeh Kya kerha!!

  6. Kismet Hardy — on 19th January, 2007 at 11:10 am  

    I interviewed her a few months ago and she said: “There aren’t many Asian women golfers which is a shame, but rather than my ethnicity working against me in the sport, it works for me because I get English and Indian sponsors whereas my teammates only get sponsored by English companies. The sad thing though, is that I probably will end up relocating to America because apart from the fact that the weather and golf courses are better, the support structure for women in sport over there is far more advanced. Even the money is good because if for instance I finish 10th in America, I’d get twice as much money as I would in Europe.”

    Come on, England…

  7. Bert Preast — on 19th January, 2007 at 11:20 am  

    The great thing about football is you don’t need to be a genetic mutant to be good at it. Short, tall, stocky, skinny, it’s skill what counts. Genetically Asians are exactly the same as whites, both being Caucasian. So for me it has to be a social thing going on.

  8. Kismet Hardy — on 19th January, 2007 at 11:23 am  

    Being Bangladeshi, I always figured I’d be genetically pridesposed to being good at cricket but I’m shit. And why the hell can’t I swim?

    Bangladesh always appears in the Olympics for archery

    Weird

  9. what — on 19th January, 2007 at 11:24 am  

    africans are better long distance runners because their physiques (slimmer, wiry, greater stamina) are more inclined to the long distance events and not the sprints (name a great ethiopian 100m runner?)….conversely afro-carribean men are more muscular, greater power and suit the shorter sprints (name a great afro-carribean 10,000 runner?)

    hardly rocket science here

    but getting back to golf, that is not a physique question…more a class/culture one…even though its drifting down to the working classes slowly it is still a predominately a white middle class game….with the exception of the great Tiger Woods

    asians have not really shown an interest in it…although if they did i am sure they would do very well. Vijay Singh is one of the few who has made it from a minority perspective

  10. Sahil — on 19th January, 2007 at 11:29 am  

    “And why the hell can’t I swim?”

    The question I’ve asked my entire life!

  11. Bert Preast — on 19th January, 2007 at 11:34 am  

    I swim like a fish but would likley badly injure myself with a golf club. Unless it’s the type where you drink beer. Where I’d only moderately injure myself.

  12. Sahil — on 19th January, 2007 at 11:55 am  

    Oh, I’ve been wanting to cut-and-paste this brilliant article for a while, but it never was really relevant, but I think its time now, enjoy:

    Case Study
    Discrimination in Sports

    As we have seen, measuring discrimination is often difficult. To determine whether one group of workers is discriminated against, a researcher must correct for differences in the productivity between that group and other workers in the economy. Yet in most firms, it is difficult to measure a particular worker’s contribution to the production of goods and services.

    One type of firm in which such corrections are easier is the sports team. Professional teams have many objective measures of productivity. In baseball, for instance, we can measure a player’s batting average, the frequency of home runs, the number of stolen bases, and so on.

    Studies of sports teams suggest that racial discrimination is, in fact, common and that much of the blame lies with customers. One study, published in the Journal of Labor Economics in 1988, examined the salaries of basketball players. It found that black players earned 20 percent less than white players of comparable ability. The study also found that attendance at basketball games was larger for teams with a greater proportion of white players. One interpretation of these facts is that, at least at the time of the study, customer discrimination made black players less profitable than white players for team owners. In the presence of such customer discrimination, a discriminatory wage gap can persist, even if team owners care only about profit.

    A similar situation once existed for baseball players. A study using data from the late 1960s showed that black players earned less than comparable white players. Moreover, fewer fans attended games pitched by blacks than games pitched by whites, even though black pitchers had better records than white pitchers. Studies of more recent salaries in baseball, however, have found no evidence of discriminatory wage differentials.

    Another study, published in the Quarterly Journal of Economics in 1990, examined the market prices of old baseball cards. This study found similar evidence of discrimination. The cards of black hitters sold for 10 percent less than the cards of comparable white hitters. The cards of black pitchers sold for 13 percent less than the cards of comparable white pitchers. These results suggest customer discrimination among baseball fans.

  13. Sajini — on 19th January, 2007 at 2:02 pm  

    Asian sprinters? Quite a few in this world, I do believe – think Susanthika Jayasinghe (a Sri Lankan) won an Olympic medal for the 200 metres a few years back?

  14. Pariah — on 19th January, 2007 at 4:42 pm  

    well done for naming one…i’m sure that makes up a huge percentage of the sprinting population

  15. Anas — on 19th January, 2007 at 5:08 pm  

    Anyone remember that hilarious joke that used to do the rounds in the school playground about how Asians couldn’t play football because everytime they came to take a corner, they’d have to open a shop?

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