Yearender 2012: Asia delights in Olympic success but big names flop
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Sri Lanka won good reviews for its hosting of the Twenty20 World Cup but the hosts could not manage to provide Asia with a champion and succumbed to West Indies in the final.
Li won a WTA title at Cincinnati and reached three other finals to cement her position as a top 10 player but she never got past the fourth round at a grand slam in her attempts to back up her breakthrough 2011 French Open triumph.
Kei Nishikori finally gave Asian fans a men's tennis player to cheer when he crashed into the world top 20 and became the first local to win the Japan Open for his second ATP title.
Japanese pitcher Yu Darvish made a good start to his Major League baseball career with the Texas Rangers, being credited 16 wins in 29 starts and winning the club's Rookie of the Year award.
Millions of dollars continued to be pumped into golf in Asia but despite the many lucrative tournaments being played at sumptuous courses around the region, local success at the top level was rare.
India's Jeev Milkha Singh and Thai Thongchai Jaidee claimed titles on the European Tour but Hiroyuki Fujita's four wins on the Japan Tour were enough to make him Asia's top ranked golfer at world number 49.
There were signs that China might be on the verge of producing some promising talent when 14-year-old Guan Tianlang ensured he would become the youngest player to compete at the U.S. Masters by winning the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship.
Taiwan's Yani Tseng led the continued Asian dominance of women's golf by retaining the number one ranking throughout the year, while eight of the top 10 in the world are from the continent.
Perhaps the biggest development for the future of sport in Asia, and in particular for the continent's half a billion Muslim women, came when FIFA lifted its ban on the wearing of head scarves in competition and women athletes from Saudi Arabia and Qatar competed for the first time at the Olympics.
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