Sport in the spotlight for new year
The Olympics and Paralympics made 2012 a brilliant year for sport so will 2013 be an anti-climax?
Fortunately, sport fans have a lot to look forward to, including the World Athletics Championships, Rugby League World Cup, the women’s Cricket World Cup, the Ashes and ICC Champions Trophy and in football the Africa Cup of Nations and women’s European Championships.
Courtesy of BBC sport, here are some of the key sporting dates in 2013.
14th-27nd: Australian Open tennis
World number ones Novak Djokovic and Victoria Azarenka will defend their titles in Melbourne.
January 19th-February 10th: Africa Cup of Nations
The 29th Africa Cup of Nations is being held in South Africa. Sixteen nations have qualified for the event, which Zambia won in 2012 after a penalty shoot-out win over Ivory Coast.
January 31st-February 17th: Women’s Cricket ICC World Cup
Hosts India will open the ICC Women’s World Cup at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai. The top eight women’s sides in the world will battle it out to be crowned world champion across five venues. Holders England, along with New Zealand, Australia and India all qualified for the event by finishing in the top four of the ICC Women’s World Cup in 2009. Joining the top four will be the top four sides from the ICC Women’s World Cup Qualifier in 2011; West Indies, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and South Africa.
2nd-March 16th: Rugby Union Six Nations
Wales are defending champions but England will fancy their chances when the 2013 Six Nations kicks off.
3rd: The Superbowl
Super Bowl XLVII, the 47th edition of the Super Bowl and the 43rd modern era National Football League championship game will take place at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana.
6th: England v Brazil
The first of three special England home football friendlies to mark the Football Association’s 150th anniversary, with matches against the Republic of Ireland (May 29th) and Scotland (August 14th) also lined up.
20th-24th: World Track Cycling Champion-ships
Great Britain left the 2012 Championships in Melbourne with six gold medals as they warmed up for the London Olympics. British cycling will again take some beating.
24th: Capital One Cup final
Wembley will host the 54th final of the League Cup. Last year Liverpool beat Cardiff on penalties after the match ended 2-2.
12th-15th: Cheltenham Festival
The great horse racing festival, featuring the top jump jockeys and horses takes place over four days in Gloucestershire, culminating in the Gold Cup.
31st: Boat Race
The 2013 contest between Oxford and Cambridge Universities will be the 159th running of the race. Oxford will be looking for revenge after Cambridge’s win in 2012.
6th: Grand National
All eyes will be on Aintree Racecourse in Liverpool for the Grand National. A British sporting institution, the Grand National attracts more than 154,000 race-goers, with over of 11 million viewers tuning in to watch the 2012 race.
11th-14th: The Masters
In the first major of the golfing year, Augusta will again play host to this historic tournament.
20th-May 6th: Snooker World Champion-ship
Snooker’s biggest tournament is held at the Crucible in Sheffield. This year is unlikely to disappoint with the likes of Judd Trump, Mark Selby, John Higgins and Shaun Murphy all going head-to-head for the trophy.
21st: London Marathon
More than 30,000 runners will hit 26 miles of London’s streets in the 33rd London Marathon.
11th: FA Cup Final
After 380-plus matches played, only two will have survived and will meet at Wembley.
23rd & 25th: Champions League Finals
The fourth Uefa Women’s Champions League final will be played at Chelsea’s ground, Stamford Bridge, on May 23rd with the men’s at Wembley on May 25th.
26th: Scottish Cup Final
The Scottish Cup Final will move from its traditional Saturday kick-off to Sunday so as not to clash with the Champions League final at Wembley.
26th-June 9th: French Open Tennis
Will Rafael Nadal be able to win an amazing eighth title on the clay?
1st: Epsom Derby
The 234th Epsom Derby is the pinnacle of the Flat racing season.
1st-July 6th: British and Irish Lions tour
The British and Irish Lions will play nine matches, including three Tests, during their tour of Australia plus a game against Barbarians in Hong Kong en route.
5th-18th: Under-21s Euro 2013
The 2013 tournament will be the 19th staging of Uefa’s European Under-21 Football Championship. Holders Spain will play the Netherlands, Russia and Germany while hosts Israel will face England, Norway and Italy.
6th-23rd: ICC Cham-pions Trophy
England and Wales will host the three-week 50-over tournament featuring the top eight one-day sides in world cricket. Australia are the current holders.
13th-16th: US Open golf
Golf’s second major of the year, the US Open takes place at Merion in Pennsylvania.
18th-22nd: Royal Ascot
Top racing action mixes with high fashion at the five-day meeting.
24th-July 7th: Wim-bledon
Can the in-form Andy Murray give Brits something to cheer about?
29th-July 21st: Tour de France
The 100th Tour de France will be made up of 21 stages, covering a total distance of 2,088 miles.
30th: British Grand Prix
The 2013 race has been brought forward from its traditional July date to the last weekend of June. A change in date might bring with it better luck on the weather front.
10th-29th: Women’s 2013 European Champ.
The BBC will show all of England’s European Women’s Championship games next summer. The tournament will be held in Sweden, with England facing France, Russia and Spain in the group stages.
10th-25 August 25th The Ashes
England will host Australia in the Ashes series in July and August.
18th-21st: The Open
Ernie Els will defend his Open title at Muirfield in East Lothian, Scotland.
20th-28th: IPC Athletics World Champion-ships
After the excitement of last summer’s Paralympic Games, the next stop for the world’s best Paralympic athletes will be the French city of Lyon .
10th-18th: Athletics World Championships
Moscow will host the 14th Athletics World Championships.
26th-September 8th: US Open
Can Andy Murray regain his title?
1st: British MotoGP
The 2013 British MotoGP moves from its traditional summer slot in June to September to host round 13 of the World Championship.
26th-November 30th: Rugby League World Cup
Australia will start favourites but New Zealand should not be discounted while England have the advantage of being on home soil again. The final will be at Old Trafford on November 30th.
4th: ATP World Tour Finals
28th-January 2014: The Ashes
The Tests are being held at Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth, Melbourne and Sydney. England won the last series Down Under 3-1 in 2010-11, their first triumph on Australian soil for 24 years.