If you thought 2011 was the best year in sports with India lifting the Cricket World Cup, Formula One making its debut in India, Barcelona shimmering with another European Cup, Manchester United knocking Liverpool off its perch and Djokovic bullying the likes of Nadal and Federer , then rest assured, 2012 will only pick up from where 2011 ended. For all sports devotees, 2012 promises to deliver a plethora of mega sporting events.
The year could not have started better for football fanatics in India. The charismatic Bhaichung Bhutia bid farewell to the national team with a high profile friendly with Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich. Apart from this, the tennis season starts with the Australian Open from January 16, followed by Rolland Garros, Wimbledon and finally the US Open. It would be interesting to see whether Novak Djokovic is able to continue his dominance, especially as both Nadal and Federer would be hungry for revenge with another protagonist in Andy Murray vying to break his final jinx with the support of new coach Ivan Lendl.
In cricket, IPL-5 starts on April 4, promising another season of thrills for the cricket-loving nation. This year, Sri Lanka hosts the T20 World Cup in September and would be looking to win on home soil. Subcontinent giants India and Pakistan will be among the favourites to lift the trophy as well.
This year is a special treat for the football fans as the Carling Cup Final, FA Cup Final, UEFA Champions League Finals are all lined up in April-May. In domestic competitions, a stronger Real Madrid would look to end Barcelona’s dominion, while in England the clubs from Manchester would look to fend off competition from rivals to vie for the title. On the international arena, the 2012 Euro Cup will take place from June 8 to July 1 in Poland & Ukraine. A younger Italian team along with Germany, England, Netherlands and France will look to counter the Spanish flamboyance.
The bumper event for 2012, the Olympics, being held in London, kicks off from July 27 and will culminate on August 12. USA would like to regain its top spot after China toppled the former, accumulating greater number of gold medals in 2008. Indian sporting fraternity caught in the web of babudom and doping scandals would like to justify its good performance in the Commonwealth Games with wrestling, boxing, archery and tennis being the sports to watch out for.
In motorsport, the Formula One season starts from March 16 with the Australian Grand Prix. India will host its second Grand Prix, and would look to remove the flaws in track and organization from its inaugural race. Other than that the Buddh International Circuit will also host the new i1 supercar race in April.
Overall, the year promises to be an entertaining one for sport lovers with plenty to cater to the needs of all.
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