October 23 2014 Latest news:
Sunday, December 30, 2012
2012 brought outstanding British Olympic success on home soil in London, an epic Ryder Cup victory for Europe and a landmark British win in cycling’s Tour de France. PADDY DAVITT looks at what sporting gems 2013 has to offer to try and rival an unforgettable 12 months.
Cricket - Women’s ODI World Cup, January 31 - February 17, Mumbai, India
Charlotte Edwards will lead three-time champions England’s defence of their world crown, won in such thrilling fashion against Australia in Sydney back in 2009. England have been drawn in a tough pool with hosts India, West Indies and opening group opponents Sri Lanka. The top three sides in each pool progress to the ‘Super Six’ stage culminating in the final on February 17.
Horse racing - Cheltenham national hunt festival, March 12 - 15, Cheltenham, England
Known as the ‘jumping Olympics’ Cheltenham is now a mecca for horse racing enthusiasts from Britain and Ireland every March. Races like the Triumph Hurdle and the Gold Cup have spawned equine legends such as Desert Orchid, Kauto Star and Denman. AP McCoy won the blue riband Gold Cup last year on the Jonjo O’Neill-trained Synchronised.
Football - Champions League final, May 25, Wembley, England
Manchester United and Arsenal would dearly love to fly the home flag after qualifying for the knock-out stages of European club football’s premier competition. A new champion will be crowned after Chelsea’s group stage exit and few would bet against the masterful Catalans of Barcelona retaining the title they have won three times in the past decade - including a previous Wembley win over United in 2011.
Rugby - British & Irish Lions tour Down Under, June 1 - July 6, Australia
The cream of British and Irish professional rugby union talent, which could include Norfolk brothers Tom and Ben Youngs, will descend on Australia for the tour to end all rugby tours. The combined power of the home unions taking on one of the traditional southern hemisphere powerhouses in a three-test series along with a number of provincial matches. The Lions have to go back to South Africa in 1997 for their last series win.
Tennis - Wimbedon, June 24 - July 7, London, England
Andy Murray will return to the scene of his Olympic gold-medal triumph looking to become the first British Wimbledon winner of the men’s singles since Fred Perry in 1936. A win on these shores would cement Murray’s legend after a breakthrough US Open victory. In the women’s singles can anyone stop Serena Williams adding a fourth title over the past five tournaments? Young British duo Heather Watson and Laura Robson will carry home hopes.
Fishing - Fish’O’Mania, July 13 - 14, Stoke-on-Trent, England
Norfolk matchman Warren Martin will attempt to defend his Fish’O’Mania title in the premier domestic match event of the season at Cudmore Fishery in Newcastle-under-Lyme. The Lyng angler finished an impressive 9kgs in front of his nearest rival Simon Medd, from Stockton-on-Tees, in the 2012 live televised event. Martin lifted the £31,000 prize after battling through a series of qualifying rounds that attracted 4,000 competitors.
Cricket - Ashes July 10 - August 25, England
The epic 2005 five-test series win which saw Michael Vaughan’s men re-claim the famous ‘urn’ for the first time in 18 years remains the modern-day benchmark for this historical rivalry. Australia’s golden generation exacted revenge with a 5-0 whitewash in the series that followed back Down Under, but Alastair Cook’s men will aim for a third consecutive Ashes victory when the Australian’s visit next summer.
Cycling - Tour de France, June 29 - July 23, France
Bradley Wiggins’ feats cast a golden glow over a memorable year of sporting endeavour in 2012. The Olympic time trial champion and Sports Personality of the Year became the first-ever British cyclist to win the precious ‘maillot jaune’ vest when he led home team mate Chris Froome to top the overall classification in the gruelling test of man and machine. Froome is likely to be his main rival again with Wiggins also indicating he plans a major assault on the 2013 Giro d’Italia.
Golf - Open, July 18 - 21, Muirfield, Scotland
Rory McIlroy will lead the home charge when golf’s oldest major returns to its spiritual home. The world number one and winner of the US and European money lists in 2012 looks a class apart from his rivals at present but reigning champion Ernie Els will have fond memories of Muirfield, where he won in 2002. The American challenge will be spearheaded by 14-time major winner Tiger Woods as he bids to try and overhaul Jack Nicklaus record of 18 majors.
Athletics - World Championships, August 10 -18, Moscow, Russia
Olympic heptahlon champion Jessica Ennis has already pledged to try and regain her world crown, which she lost to Russia’s Tatyana Chernova in 2011. Ennis will know she also has to overcome a partisan home crowd supporting Chernova after harnessing that energy to full effect in London this summer. Fellow Team GB Olympic gold medallists Mo Farah and Greg Rutherford will also expect to compete in Moscow.