As we begin 2016, we remind ourselves of the major sporting milestones from the previous year, and what we have to look forward to in 2016.
From cricket to boxing, here is a complete guide to what happened in the dynamic sports world previous year:
Barcelona won their historic 2nd treble (a term used for teams who have won 3 consecutive trophies in a year), which includes the domestic league, the domestic cup and the UEFA Champions league.
The United States won their 3rd FIFA Women’s World Cup, while Chile won the Copa America for the first time by defeating Argentina in the final.
Off the field, FIFA President Sepp Blatter and his UEFA counterpart Michel Platini were banned from all football-related activities for 8 years after earlier being suspended for their involvement in the ‘disloyal payments’ saga.
Co-hosts Australia won their fifth World Cup, defeating New Zealand in the final after India lost to Australia in the semi-final.
The Mumbai Indians won the Indian Premier League, while England beat Australia at home to regain the Ashes (test cricket series).
Bangladesh made a mark in world cricket after defeating India and South Africa in ODI series at home.
Last but not the least, the ICC rankings saw R. Ashwin ending the year as the 2nd best bowler in Test cricket.
Serbian superstar, Novak Djokovic won 3 of the 4 Grand Slams of the year, bagging a total of 11 titles.
Meanwhile, USA’s Serena Williams took women’s tennis by storm, successfully winning 3 grand slams as well.
Further, India’s journey in tennis this year was marked by success in the doubles category, with Sania Mirza and Leander Paes having a successful year with Switzerland’s Martina Hingis.
China dominated the BWF Super Series & Grand Prix Gold, winning 58 titles throughout the year.
India won a total of 8 titles, with the likes of Saina Nehwal, P.V. Sindhu, Kidambi Srikanth and Jwala Gutta-Ashwini Ponappa striking gold.
While Nehwal lost the top spot to Carolina Marin in the world rankings, youngster Srikanth Kidambi broke into the top 10 of the Men’s world rankings.
The World Hockey League saw Australia defeat Belgium in the men’s final to take the top prize, while India finished 3rd. This success has brought more promise to India’s journey back to the top.
Meanwhile, at the Indoor Hockey World Cup in Leipzig, the Netherlands won in both men and women categories.
Mixed Martial Art
In what turned out to be a major upset, Holly Holm knocked Ronda Rousey out at Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) 193 in Melbourne to become the new UFC Bantamweight Champion. UFC 194 saw Conor McGregor defeat Jose Aldo by a knockout 13 seconds into the fight in Las Vegas, becoming the new UFC Undisputed World Featherweight Champion.
Dubbed as “The Fight of the Century”, the year saw Floyd Mayweather Jr. face Manny Pacquiao, a fight that took 6 years to materialize. Mayweather won by unanimous decision, thereby retiring undefeated. In the latter part of the year, Ukraine’s Wladimir Klitschko lost the World Heavyweight Championship to Briton Tyson Fury, ending a 9.5-year championship reign.
Lewis Hamilton, British racer who plays for the Mercedes team successfully defended both the championships this year despite Ferrari’s resurgence.
The inaugural season of the ‘all-electric’ Formula E concluded with the Brazilian racer, Nelson Piquet Jr., as world champion and Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo won his 3rd MOTOGP world championship.
Elsewhere, Frenchman Jules Bianchi became Formula One’s first fatality in 21 years, after succumbing to his injuries from last year’s crash at the Japanese GP.
The American team, Golden State Warriors, won The National Basketball Association (NBA) Playoffs, defeating the Cleveland Cavaliers. Further, Warriors’ Andre Iguodala wins the Final Most Valuable Player(MVP) award.
Kobe Bryant announced his retirement from the sport at the end of this season but remains in contention for the Summer Olympics’ national team.
The sporting world saw a lot of landmark events throughout the year. New Zealand successfully defended their Rugby World Championship. Then, we saw United Kingdom’s Chris Froome winning the Tour de France, while Kenya won the World Athletics Championship.
Events to look forward in 2016
2016 brings us an array of exciting events, with the Summer Olympics taking center stage.
The Euro 2016 in France will see 24 nations battle it out for European glory.
2016’s IPL will not feature Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals, who were suspended for 2 years following involvement in the 2013 spot-fixing scandal. They will be replaced by two new franchises in the form of Pune and Rajkot. Lastly, with the ICC World T20 to be played in India this year, MS Dhoni will look to bring back the glory days of being T20 champions once again.