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China Aiming to ‘Breed’ Wimbledon Champ (22nd June, 2010)


 

China is attempting to become top in another sport by aiming for tennis. They already proved their strength as a sporting nation by topping the medals table at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Their new target is to produce tennis players good enough to be Wimbledon champions. They would also happily settle for the Australian, French and U.S. Opens. The Sky News TV channel from Britain reported on the efforts the Chinese are making to become a tennis superpower. If countries like Sweden, and more recently Serbia, can produce champs, then China have a great chance. They have the facilities and the determination to achieve their dream. China already has a role model for the younger tennis starlets to look up to. She is Zheng Jie who reached the Wimbledon semi-finals in 2008.

Sky News China correspondent Holly Williams visited the Xiannongtan School in Beijing. There, she saw children as young as six being trained to compete for sporting glory in the future. She spoke to the training manager Huang Hongjun about his training methods. Mr Hongjun said: "We pick the students by testing the quality of their bodies. It's important we get it right, because if we choose incorrectly then they won't turn out to be champions." One of the future hopefuls of the school is 11-year-old Hao Huatian. He trains six days a week, has no school holidays and only sees his parents once a week. Williams reported: “He has already won a national championship, and displays extraordinary focus for a player of his age.” His is definitely a name to watch for before the end of this decade.


 
 

WARM-UPS

1. TENNIS: Walk around the class and talk to other students about tennis. Change partners often. Sit with your first partner(s) and share your findings.

2. CHAT: In pairs / groups, decide which of these topics or words from the article are most interesting and which are most boring.

 

China / becoming top / tennis / medals / champions / superpowers / determination / correspondents / sporting glory / training / quality / future hopefuls / focus

Have a chat about the topics you liked. Change topics and partners frequently.

3. “BREEDING”: What are the pros and cons of training children for these things? Complete this table with your partner(s). Change partners and share what you wrote. Change and share again.

 

Pros

Cons

Tennis glory

 

 

Parenthood

 

 

Soldiering

 

 

Farm work

 

 

Nursing

 

 

Political leadership

 

 

4. CHINA #1: Students A strongly believe China will be the world’s strongest sporting power; Students B strongly believe this won’t happen.  Change partners again and talk about your conversations.

5. GLORY: What would you like to be glorious in? Rate these and share your ratings with your partner: 10 = would love to be wrapped in glory; 1 = zero interest. Change partners and share your ratings again.

  • football (soccer)
  • exam success
  • sales targets
  • being a hero
  • English ability
  • your hobby
  • war
  • video games

6. CHAMPION: Spend one minute writing down all of the different words you associate with the word ‘champion’. Share your words with your partner(s) and talk about them. Together, put the words into different categories.


 
 

BEFORE READING / LISTENING

1. TRUE / FALSE: Read the headline. Guess if  a-h  below are true (T) or false (F).

a.

China is using DNA and genetics to create the perfect tennis player.

T / F

b.

China wants to produce tennis players capable of winning major titles.

T / F

c.

The buildings and tennis equipment available to China are poor.

T / F

d.

A Chinese woman reached the semi-finals at Wimbledon in 2008.

T / F

e.

Children start training for tennis glory in China from the age of six.

T / F

f.

A tennis school chooses children who have the right quality bodies.

T / F

g.

Young Chinese hopefuls train seven days a week at tennis school.

T / F

h.

The youngsters at the school see their parents three evenings a week.

T / F

2. SYNONYM MATCH: Match the following synonyms from the article.

1.

attempting

a.

fame

2

topping

b.

example

3.

settle

c.

heading

4.

determination

d.

reporter

5.

role model

e.

unbelievable

6.

correspondent

f.

trying

7.

glory

g.

drive

8.

pick

h.

for sure

9.

extraordinary

i.

accept

10.

definitely

j.

select

3. PHRASE MATCH:  (Sometimes more than one choice is possible.)

1.

China is attempting to become

a.

sporting glory

2

proved their strength

b.

starlets to look up to

3.

the efforts the Chinese

c.

it right

4.

the determination

d.

focus

5.

a role model for the younger tennis

e.

as a sporting nation

6.

trained to compete for

f.

to watch for

7.

It's important we get

g.

top in another sport

8.

One of the future

h.

are making

9.

displays extraordinary

i.

hopefuls

10.

His is definitely a name

j.

to achieve their dream

WHILE READING / LISTENING

GAP FILL: Put the words into the gaps in the text.

China is ____________ to become top in another sport by aiming for tennis. They already ____________ their strength as a sporting nation by topping the medals table at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Their new target is to produce tennis players good enough to be Wimbledon champions. They would also ____________ settle for the Australian, French and U.S. Opens. The Sky News TV channel from Britain reported on the ____________ the Chinese are making to become a tennis superpower. If countries like Sweden, and more ____________ Serbia, can produce champs, then China have a great chance. They have the ____________ and the determination to achieve their dream. China already has a ____________ model for the younger tennis starlets to ____________ up to. She is Zheng Jie who reached the Wimbledon semi-finals in 2008.

 

 

 

efforts
role
happily
attempting
look
recently
proved
facilities

Sky News China correspondent Holly Williams ____________ the Xiannongtan School in Beijing. There, she saw children as young as six being trained to ____________ for sporting glory in the future. She spoke to the training manager Huang Hongjun about his training ____________. Mr Hongjun said: "We pick the students by testing the ____________ of their bodies. It's important we get it right, because if we choose ____________ then they won't turn out to be champions." One of the future ____________ of the school is 11-year-old Hao Huatian. He trains six days a week, has no school holidays and only sees his parents once a week. Williams reported: “He has already won a national championship, and ____________ extraordinary focus for a player of his age.” His is definitely a name to watch for before the end of this ____________.

 

 

methods
displays
incorrectly
visited
decade
compete
hopefuls
quality

LISTENING – Listen and fill in the gaps

China is attempting to become _______________________ aiming for tennis. They already proved their strength as a sporting nation by topping the medals table at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. _______________________ produce tennis players good enough to be Wimbledon champions. They _______________________ for the Australian, French and U.S. Opens. The Sky News TV channel from Britain _______________________ the Chinese are making to become a tennis superpower. If countries like Sweden, and more recently Serbia, can produce champs, then China have a great chance. They have the facilities _______________________ to achieve their dream. China already has a role model for the younger tennis _______________________. She is Zheng Jie who reached the Wimbledon semi-finals in 2008.

Sky News China correspondent Holly Williams visited the Xiannongtan School in Beijing. There, she saw children _______________________ trained to _______________________ in the future. She spoke to the training manager Huang Hongjun about his training methods. Mr Hongjun said: "We pick the students _______________________ of their bodies. It's important we get it right, because if we choose incorrectly then _______________________ be champions." One of the future hopefuls of the school is 11-year-old Hao Huatian. He trains six days a week, has no school holidays and _______________________ a week. Williams reported: “He has already won a national championship, and displays extraordinary focus for a player of his age.” _______________________ to watch for before the end of this decade.


 
 

AFTER READING / LISTENING

1. WORD SEARCH: Look in your dictionary / computer to find collocates, other meanings, information, synonyms … for the words ‘achieve’ and ‘dream’.

achieve

dream

 

 

 

  • Share your findings with your partners.
  • Make questions using the words you found.
  • Ask your partner / group your questions.

2. ARTICLE QUESTIONS: Look back at the article and write down some questions you would like to ask the class about the text.

  • Share your questions with other classmates / groups.
  • Ask your partner / group your questions.

3. GAP FILL: In pairs / groups, compare your answers to this exercise. Check your answers. Talk about the words from the activity. Were they new, interesting, worth learning…?

4. VOCABULARY: Circle any words you do not understand. In groups, pool unknown words and use dictionaries to find their meanings.

5. TEST EACH OTHER: Look at the words below. With your partner, try to recall how they were used in the text:

  • attempting
  • strength
  • target
  • efforts
  • produce
  • 2008
  • six
  • manager
  • quality
  • parents
  • focus
  • decade

STUDENT TENNIS SURVEY

Write five GOOD questions about tennis in the table. Do this in pairs. Each student must write the questions on his / her own paper.

When you have finished, interview other students. Write down their answers.

 

STUDENT 1

_____________

STUDENT 2

_____________

STUDENT 3

_____________

Q.1.

 

 

 

 

Q.2.

 

 

 

 

Q.3.

 

 

 

 

Q.4.

 

 

 

 

Q.5.

 

 

 

 

  • Now return to your original partner and share and talk about what you found out. Change partners often.
  • Make mini-presentations to other groups on your findings.

TENNIS DISCUSSION

STUDENT A’s QUESTIONS (Do not show these to student B)

a)

What did you think when you read the headline?

b)

What springs to mind when you hear the word ‘tennis’?

c)

What do you think of tennis?

d)

Do you think China will become a top tennis nation?

e)

Is Wimbledon the best tennis tournament?

f)

What do you think of China’s ‘breeding’ programme?

g)

What do you think of your country’s sporting ability?

h)

Is it possible to create champions or are they born?

i)

Why are small countries like Sweden and Serbia so good at tennis?

j)

Who’s the role model you look up to?

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

STUDENT B’s QUESTIONS (Do not show these to student A)

a)

Did you like reading this article?

b)

What do you think of 6-year-olds training for tennis tournaments?

c)

Have you ever had any sporting glory?

d)

What do you think of children being tested and chosen for body quality?

e)

Do you think it’s good that China has such a focus on sport?

f)

Is it right or wrong for children to train so hard without seeing their family?

g)

When was the last time you displayed extraordinary focus?

h)

What were you doing when you were six?

i)

When will China have its first Grand Slam tennis champ?

j)

What questions would you like to ask training manager Huang Hongjun?

LANGUAGE – MULTIPLE CHOICE

China is attempting to become top in another sport (1) ____ aiming for tennis. They already proved their strength as a sporting nation by (2) ____ the medals table at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Their new target is to produce tennis players good enough to be Wimbledon champions. They would also happily (3) ____ for the Australian, French and U.S. Opens. The Sky News TV channel from Britain reported on the (4) ____ the Chinese are making to become a tennis superpower. If countries like Sweden, and (5) ____ recently Serbia, can produce champs, then China have a great chance. They have the facilities and the determination to achieve their dream. China already has a role model for the younger tennis starlets to look (6) ____ to. She is Zheng Jie who reached the Wimbledon semi-finals in 2008.

Sky News China correspondent Holly Williams visited the Xiannongtan School in Beijing. There, she saw children as young (7) ____ six being trained to compete for sporting glory in the future. She spoke to the training manager Huang Hongjun about his training methods. Mr Hongjun said: "We pick the students (8) ____ testing the quality of their bodies. It's important we get it right, because if we choose (9) ____ then they won't (10) ____ out to be champions." One of the future hopefuls of the school is 11-year-old Hao Huatian. He trains six days a week, has no school holidays and only sees his parents once a week. Williams reported: “He has already won a national championship, and (11) ____ extraordinary focus for a player of his age.” His is definitely a name to (12) ____ for before the end of this decade.

Put the correct words from the table below in the above article.

1.

(a)

for

(b)

with

(c)

at

(d)

by

2.

(a)

topping

(b)

stopping

(c)

tapping

(d)

stripping

3.

(a)

settled

(b)

settle

(c)

settles

(d)

settling

4.

(a)

effects

(b)

affects

(c)

efforts

(d)

offends

5.

(a)

much

(b)

many

(c)

more

(d)

moor

6.

(a)

at

(b)

up

(c)

of

(d)

on

7.

(a)

has

(b)

was

(c)

is

(d)

as

8.

(a)

by

(b)

at

(c)

to

(d)

with

9.

(a)

wrong

(b)

incorrectly

(c)

rightly

(d)

correctly

10.

(a)

spin

(b)

twist

(c)

swivel

(d)

turn

11.

(a)

replays

(b)

plays

(c)

displays

(d)

rewinds

12.

(a)

watch

(b)

vision

(c)

look

(d)

see

WRITING

Write about tennis for 10 minutes. Correct your partner’s paper.

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

HOMEWORK

1. VOCABULARY EXTENSION: Choose several of the words from the text. Use a dictionary or Google’s search field (or another search engine) to build up more associations / collocations of each word.

2. INTERNET: Search the Internet and find out more about the Wimbledon tennis tournament. Share what you discover with your partner(s) in the next lesson.

3. TENNIS: Make a poster about tennis. Show your work to your classmates in the next lesson. Did you all have similar things?

4. BRED: Write a magazine article about a child who was bred for tennis success.  Include an imaginary interview with the child.

Read what you wrote to your classmates in the next lesson. Write down any new words and expressions you hear from your partner(s).

5. LETTER: Write a letter to the boss of tennis. Ask him/her three questions about the sport. Give her/him three ideas on how to make it more exiting. Read your letter to your partner(s) in your next lesson. Your partner(s) will answer your questions.

ANSWERS

TRUE / FALSE:

a.

F

b.

T

c.

F

d.

T

e.

T

f.

T

g.

F

h.

F

SYNONYM MATCH:

1.

attempting

a.

trying

2

topping

b.

heading

3.

settle

c.

accept

4.

determination

d.

drive

5.

role model

e.

example

6.

correspondent

f.

reporter

7.

glory

g.

fame

8.

pick

h.

select

9.

extraordinary

i.

unbelievable

10.

definitely

j.

for sure

PHRASE MATCH:

1.

China is attempting to become

a.

top in another sport

2

proved their strength

b.

as a sporting nation

3.

the efforts the Chinese

c.

are making

4.

the determination

d.

to achieve their dream

5.

a role model for the younger tennis

e.

starlets to look up to

6.

trained to compete for

f.

sporting glory

7.

It's important we get

g.

it right

8.

One of the future

h.

hopefuls

9.

displays extraordinary

i.

focus

10.

His is definitely a name

j.

to watch for

GAP FILL:

China aiming to ‘breed’ Wimbledon champ

China is attempting to become top in another sport by aiming for tennis. They already proved their strength as a sporting nation by topping the medals table at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Their new target is to produce tennis players good enough to be Wimbledon champions. They would also happily settle for the Australian, French and U.S. Opens. The Sky News TV channel from Britain reported on the efforts the Chinese are making to become a tennis superpower. If countries like Sweden, and more recently Serbia, can produce champs, then China have a great chance. They have the facilities and the determination to achieve their dream. China already has a role model for the younger tennis starlets to look up to. She is Zheng Jie who reached the Wimbledon semi-finals in 2008.

Sky News China correspondent Holly Williams visited the Xiannongtan School in Beijing. There, she saw children as young as six being trained to compete for sporting glory in the future. She spoke to the training manager Huang Hongjun about his training methods. Mr Hongjun said: "We pick the students by testing the quality of their bodies. It's important we get it right, because if we choose incorrectly then they won't turn out to be champions." One of the future hopefuls of the school is 11-year-old Hao Huatian. He trains six days a week, has no school holidays and only sees his parents once a week. Williams reported: “He has already won a national championship, and displays extraordinary focus for a player of his age.” His is definitely a name to watch for before the end of this decade.

LANGUAGE WORK

1 - d

2 - a

3 - b

4 - c

5 - c

6 - b

7 - d

8 - a

9 - b

10 - d

11 - c

12 - a

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