After such an incredible sporting year in 2012, it is only natural to think that 2013 may be slightly anti-climactic in comparison. 2012 was an amazing year, particularly for us Brits. The success of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, Wimbledon and our Sport’s Personality of the Year winning the Tour de France made 2012 one of the best years in sporting history to be a British athlete or spectator...but there a plenty of sporting events this year to get excited about too!
2013 has plenty of sporting highlights to offer us and by making sure that you keep these dates close at hand you won’t miss a minute of the action!
The tennis year kicks off with world number ones Djokovic and Azarenka defending their titles at the Australian Open in Melbourne this January. The competition commences on the 14 January and runs until the 27th January. Nadal has withdrawn from the Open but there will be plenty of tennis talent to watch with Murray and Federer trying to knock Djokovic from the top spot in men’s singles and Sharapova and Williams fighting out in the women’s singles. Murray’s ace partner Robson who helped win team GB a silver medal in mixed doubles last summer will also be looking to make her mark on the tennis court.
Africa Cup of Nations
The football tournament won by Zambia last year will be hosted in South Africa this year. Runners up Ivory Coast are the favourite to win out of sixteen qualifying nations. The Africa Cup of Nations kicks off on the 19th January and the final will be held on 10th February.
Women’s Cricket ICC World Cup
The Women’s World Cup is held in Mumbai this year with hosts India opening the competition on 31st January at the Wankhede Stadium. There are a total of eight teams involved this year with England looking to hold onto the cup in a battle against New Zealand, Australia, India, West Indies, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and South Africa.
Rugby Union Six Nations
With Wales as defending champions and England looking to knock them off the top spot, this is set to be one of the year’s most exciting sporting events to watch! England showed what they are capable off when they beat rugby giants New Zealand by 38-21 last year. The battle of the Six Nations commences on the 2nd February and is set to conclude on 16th March.
It might be riddled with advertisements, but this mammoth sporting event is a definite highlight on the 2013 calendar. The last superbowl was held in Indianapolis where the New York Giants beat the New England Patriots in a closely matched game by 21-17. This year the Superbowl takes place in New Orleans, Louisiana and is the 47th edition of its kind.
World Track Cycling Championships
With the great success of British athletes still fresh in the mind, the World Track Cycling Championships looks set to be one to watch. Last year, Great Britain won 6 gold medals in their warm up for a spectacular display at the London Olympic Games. With Chris Hoy retired from cycling and Victoria Pendleton set to sit this one out, the line up will include a few fresh faces. Olympic gold medallists Jason Kenny and Laura Trott will take some beating at this competition!
Capital One Cup Final
The 54th final of the league cup will be hosted at Wembley stadium at the end of February. Last year saw a penalty shoot out after the Cardiff Vs Liverpool final ended in a 2-2 draw. This year will see a completely different final as neither of these teams are left in the running for the 2013 final.
European Indoor Athletics Championship
On the 1st March, the European Indoor Athletics Championship will commence in Goteborg, Sweden. Currently, Great Britain rank 4th in the all-time medal table for this event and with the talent showcased by team GB during the London 2012 Olympic Games we can expect to see some excellent displays of athleticism and a fair few gold medals.
World Figure Skating Championships
The most elite skating competition on the planet begins on the 10th March in Canada and runs until the 17th March. The skaters will compete for a world titles in men’s singles, ladies singles, pairs and ice dancing. A World Championship title is considered the most prestigious award in skating with the exception of an Olympic title.
From the 12th-15th March (inclusive) the wonderful horse racing festival will take place in Gloucestershire featuring the world’s most talented jockeys and horses. The main event of this festival is the Gold Cup which has made racing legends of the horses and jockeys that win!
The long running annual (159th to be exact) battle between Oxford and Cambridge University commences once more on the last day of this month. After Cambridge dominated proceedings last year with an outstanding display of athleticism, Oxford will no doubt be looking for revenge.
The horse racing event that draws in a wide audience, attracting more than 11 million viewers last year, will take place on the 6th April at Aintree racecourse in Liverpool. Neptune Collonges was the winning horse of this mammoth race last year making himself the third ever grey horse to win the Grand National.
The golfing year really gets going on the 11th April when The Masters tournament kicks off in Augusta. Often it is easy to predict the athletes who will finish top of the table in these tournaments but last year saw a surprise victory with Bubba Watson stealing the win from more ‘big name’ players. I am confident that Rory McIlroy will have his eyes firmly set on the green jacket.
Snooker World Championship
The biggest tournament for snooker begins on the 20th April in Sheffield. Last year, Ronnie O’Sullivan was victorious and claimed his 4th world title at the competition but this year he is sitting this competition out. This leaves the floor wide open for many talented snooker players (such as Trump and Selby) to battle it out.
The London Marathon
The 33rd marathon will hit the London streets on the 21st April, along with thousands of runners. From the costume wearing amateur to the elite athlete, the fundraising that takes place at this event is astronomical. The London Marathon has been an event to showcase many miraculous journeys for individuals, none more so than for Claire Lomas who finished the 26.2 mile race last year with ‘bionic’ limbs which help her to move on her legs despite her being paralysed.
FA Cup Final
The 132nd FA Cup Final will take place at Wembley on the 11th May. As yet, the two clubs in the final have not been established but the teams are rapidly being whittled down from the original line up of more than 700 teams at the beginning of the 2012-13 season. Last year the Liverpool Vs Chelsea final in which Chelsea triumphed in a 2-1 score line, was witnessed by 89,000 spectators in the stadium and millions of viewers worldwide.
UEFA Champions League Finals
Both the women’s and men’s UEFA Champions league finals will be held at Stamford Bridge this May. The 4th women’s final of its kind will be held on the 23rd May, with the men’s final a few days later on the 25th.
Scottish Cup Final
This year the Scottish Cup final will be taking place on Sunday 26th May so as not to clash with the Champions League final. Last year was the first time that an all Edinburgh final had taken place in the tournaments 116 years, as Hibernian and Hearts went head to head for the cup. There wasn’t much contest between the sides however, as the final score line was Hearts 5-1 Hibernian.
The French Open
Tennis returns to the forefront of the sporting world again on the 26th May when the French Open commences. The question is whether Nadal will be back in action by this time to give him a shot at winning an amazing eighth title on the clay court. Last year in the women’s singles event, Maria Sharipova won the French Open and completed her Grand Slam set. However, the winners of this event have also come from unexpected players over the years making it a very exciting tournament to watch. Keep your eyes peeled for the final events on the 8th/9th June.
One of the most prestigious and long running flat racing events returns on the 1st June this year. The Epsom Derby is run over one mile and four furlongs by some of the most elite horses and jockeys in the world.
The 19th event of its kind will be held this year in Israel and will see Spain once again playing to take home the glory. England will face Israel, Norway and Italy. The tournament kicks off on the 5th June with the final being played on the 18th June.
ICC Champions Trophy
Much like other cricket tournaments, the ICC Champions Trophy features the top eight world teams battling it out to win. Australia are the current champs who will be looking to replicate their former glory again this year when the competition starts on the 6th June. The tournament will be hosted this year by England and Wales, with the final being held at Edgbaston on the 23rd June.
Golf’s second major tournament of the year was won by a difference of just one point in 2012. There are many top class players set to battle it out this year for the US Open win including our own Rory McIlroy who won in 2011 and has been on great form ever since. His rivals will include Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell and last year’s champion American golfer Webb Simpson.
After a nail biting final with Murray losing out to Federer in 2012, the question will be can a Brit win Wimbledon? If you judge Andy by his recent form, it is a very strong possibility and would be amazing for our nation to witness this summer. No doubt the weather will disrupt play and there will be a few temper tantrums from elite players (not mentioning any names) but it’s all part of the thrilling journey we are part of from the 24th June until the finals on the 6th and 7th July.
Tour de France
The Tour de France is an amazing showcase of the world’s greatest endurance athletes. It covers an astonishing 2088 miles over 21 stages. Last year, Bradley Wiggins brought it home for Britain as well as winning a gold medal at the Olympics and being knighted by Her Majesty. Can he continue his winning form? Let’s hope so! The Tour de France will run from the 29th June until the 21st July.
British Grand Prix
Here is hoping for perfect weather conditions this summer for the Grand Prix which takes place on 30th June (slightly earlier than usual). Sebastian Vettel, Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton will no doubt be gearing up to challenge last year’s winner Mark Webber.
After a triumphant past two series, England is still in possession of The Ashes. This year we will host Australia on home soil over five test matches starting on the 10th July and culminating in the final match on 25th August.
IPC Athletics World Championships
Following an outstanding athletic display at the London 2012 Paralympic Games, the IPC Athletics World Championships is set to be one of the most exciting and most watched in its history. This year the competition will be held in Lyon and no doubt that many of the team GB athletes will be looking to add to their medal tally. Starting on 20th July, this championship runs until 28th July.
Athletics World Championships
Moscow will be hosting the 14th Athletics World Championships this year. Many of the famous athletes who showcased their skills at London 2012 will be looking to add to their medal collection and no doubt break a few more world records! If you found yourself transfixed by the London 2012 games and the amazing display of athleticism from all over the world, this is the competition to keep your eyes peeled for! Beginning on the 10th August, the Athletics World Championships runs until 18th August.
After 76 years of Britain waiting for a male tennis Grand Slam singles winner, Andy Murray produced the goods! Winning his first major title following his Olympic success, this year it will be the time to defend his title in New York. Nadal, Federer and Djokovic will no doubt be the familiar obstacles in his path making the men’s singles semi-finals and finals matches well worth watching! Serena Williams will be pursuing her fifth title at this event and will no doubt be making headlines throughout. The open commences on the 26th August with the finals being played out on the 7th and 8th of September.
World Artistic Gymnastic Championships
The 44th event will be held in Antwerp, Belgium this year. The competition begins on the 30th September and finishes on the 6th October. If we take into consideration the all-time medal count, the leading country is the USSR followed by China and Romania. Great Britain find themselves all the way down in 22nd place, but with a lot of significant medals achieved by team GB at London 2012 for gymnastic events here is hoping we can replicate some of the magic at the World Championships.
The Weightlifting World Championships are run by the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF). The first event of this nature began in 1891 when Britain was the host nation, with the event held in London. This year the most talented lifters in the world will battle it out across 15 weight categories to win a world title and set world record lifts. This year the competition runs from the 16th-23rd October and will be hosted in Warsaw, Poland.
FIFA U-17’s World Cup
The FIFA U-17’s world cup takes place in the United Arab Emirates this year and kicks off on 17th October. The final will be played out on 8th November. Iran, Iraq, Japan and Uzbekistan have already secured their places in the World Cup after reaching the semi-finals of the AFC U-16 Championships. Uzbekistan also made history by securing their first continental title.
Rugby League World Cup
Commencing at the end of October this tournament runs throughout November with the final playing out on 30th November. Having won the majority of the tournaments, Australia will again be a force to be reckoned with and will start favourites to win. In 2008, New Zealand showed that they too can put in a world class performance and steal the title while we will be hoping for a win as the competition is on home turf this year.
World Women’s Handball Championships
The 21st event of its kind will bring a close to the major sporting events of 2013. This year, the championships will be held in Serbia from 7th December until the finals on the 22nd December. The International Handball Federation is looking forward to a successful competition this year with many countries in attendance. Despite the funding cuts that the Handball team have faced, the growing and supportive crowds at London 2012 prove that it is an exciting and worthwhile sport which spectators and athletes thoroughly enjoy.