Edition: English | 中文简体 | 中文繁体 Монгол
Homepage > Sports Video

23-year-old is first Chinese to try luck in Australian football club

Reporter: Li Sien, Liang Kejia 丨 CCTV.com

08-23-2016 16:18 BJT

Chen Shaoliang is trying to become the first Chinese born player to play Australian Rules Football at the elite level in Australia. His signing with the Port Adelaide Football club earlier this year has given the 23-year-old a chance to achieve that goal. It’s also helping the club to make a uniquely Aussie sport popular in China. Greg Navarro reports.

This is not how Chen Shaoliang imagined his first few months with the Port Adelaide Football club - forced to watch from the stands because of an injury.

Chen said, "As a player no one wants to get injured, everyone wants to play the game but I still can train with the guys, in the morning join the training room sitting with the guys listening, learning."

That’s just what the 23-year-old has been doing since damaging his ACL in just his second training session with the club.

Port Adelaide Development manager John Hinge said, "Chen came over with ambitions to play straight away and unfortunately he gets injured and that’s part of the journey."

That journey for Chen began earlier this year- when the top scorer for the Chinese National team was signed by Port Adelaide as a recruit for the club’s academy.

Coaches were immediately impressed with his athleticism and his drive.

Chen said, "That’s pretty exciting - I know I had been playing football for 4 years and I hoped one day I could come to Australia to play football."

Chen has been making history since he stepped off a plane in South Australia 5 months ago. And he’s attempting to become the first Chinese-born player to make it to the top.

"Only about 800 people get to play Australian Rules Football on grounds like this at the elite level. Keep in mind that’s in a country of about 23 million people, and those 800 have grown up playing the sport." said Greg Navarro.

John Hinge said, “For someone who hasn’t grown up in Australia the game is quite complicated and it’s 360 degrees, someone can come in from any angle - it’s a hard game to learn.”

The move to bring Chen here is part of Port Adelaide’s China engagement plan.

The team has reached a deal with CCTV to broadcast AFL games throughout China, and is looking to grow the sport beyond Australia’s shores.

Port Adelaide GM for China Andrew Hunter said, "Everything we are doing is predicated on this idea of cultural understanding and cultural exchange - I think that is where the real beauty of the strategy lies."

While sidelined with an injury, Chen continues to train and learn as much as he can about the sport. He’s also enrolled in English classes, and doesn’t seemed phased by the odds he faces of one day playing for Port Adelaide.

Chen said, "That’s my dream, I’m chasing my dream, that’s why I come here."

Team officials say as long as Chen believes he can succeed - the odds really don’t matter.

Follow us on

  • Please scan the QR Code to follow us on Instagram

  • Please scan the QR Code to follow us on Wechat