Top 12 API athletes to look out for in 2009
Last updated 12-31-08 at 10:10 a.m.
By Jason Cruz
Northwest Asian Weekly
Seattle sports fans, please erase 2008 from your memory.
lost its basketball team as the Seattle
SuperSonics left for Oklahoma City. The
University of Washington football team didn’t win
a game this season and fired head coach
Tyrone Willingham. The Mariners finished in last place in its division
with 101 losses and fired its manager, John MacLaren.
Seattle Seahawks experienced its first
losing season since 2002. Although Seahawks
head coach Mike Holmgren was not fired, he stepped down as head coach
after suffering the worst record in his coaching career.
was a breakthrough for many Asian Americans
in sports. This is a list of athletes who had a good 2008 and will
be on the rise in 2009.
Seattle’s Apolo Anton
Ohno won his eighth consecutive national
title at the U.S. Shortrack Speedskating Championships on Dec. 21.
Haley Ishimatsu appeared in her first Summer
Olympic Games in Beijing. The 15-year-old
California native competed in two platform
Ohno and Ishimatsu accomplished
a lot in 2008 but may stay low-key in 2009.
Jason Cruz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This page utilizes public domain photos.
1. Don Wakamatsu became the first
Asian American to manage a major league
baseball team when he was hired as
the Seattle Mariners manager in November.
2. A San Francisco Giant and former
University of Washington Husky Tim
Lincecum won the National League
Cy Young Award, an annual award given
to the league’s best pitcher.
Lincecum’s grandfather is Filipino.
Photo provided by www.seoulsisters.com
3. Michelle Wie successfully completed “Q-school” with
a qualifying score to earn her tour
card and become an official member
of the LPGA tour. Prior to qualifying,
Wie received sponsor exemptions to
play in LPGA tournaments.
Photo provided by
4. Erik Spoelstra
is in his first year as an NBA coach
for the Miami Heat. Spoelstra, who
is half-Filipino, played college
basketball at the University of Portland.
5. Kim Ng, the assistant
general manager for the Los Angeles
Dodgers, was on the short list of candidates
for the general manager position for
the Mariners. Although Ng was not chosen,
many baseball executives believe that
it will only be a matter of time until
Ng becomes a general manager of an
6. In the absence
of Tiger Woods, 23-year-old golfer
Anthony Kim’s enthusiasm and
clutch play led the United States
in upsetting the European team in
the Ryder Cup. Playing in his first
Ryder Cup, the Korean American waved
the American flag and led cheers
as the U.S. team upset the favored
7. Boxer Manny Pacquiao
had a successful 2008. He won three
fights this year with his last being
the biggest and best as he dominated
Oscar de la Hoya on Dec. 6.
8. Phillipe Nover,
a Filipino mixed martial artist (MMA),
participated in the reality show, “The
Ultimate Fighter.” The show placed
MMA fighters to live in a house and
train to compete for a contract with
the Ultimate Fighting Championship
(UFC). Nover, a nurse in Brooklyn,
made it all the way to the televised
finals before losing. Nover tried out
eight times for the reality show prior
to being accepted to participate this
9. Mark Munoz is
an up-and-coming undefeated mixed
martial artist. The UFC has signed “The
Filipino Wrecking Machine” to
compete in the UFC in early 2009.
10. Geno Espineli became
the first full-blooded Filipino to
pitch in the major leagues when he
pitched an inning for the San Francisco
Giants in July 2008.
12. Two Indian pitchers, Dinesh Patel
(right), 20, and Rinku Singh, 19,
were signed by the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Patel and Singh appeared on a reality
television show in India, “The
Million Dollar Arm,” in which
the winner was given a chance to
sign with an MLB team. The Pirates
signed Singh, the winner of the reality
show. The organization also signed
Patel because they were impressed
with his potential.
TOP 8 EVENTS