Is 2022 sportsmen’s year? | Sunday Observer

Is 2022 sportsmen’s year?

16 January, 2022

Year 2022 has already dawned, but the difference is that the year 2022 is composed of many global sports events. Compared to other years, one can say, 2022 is sportsmen's year as there are many more such events. The year starts with the Australian Open Tennis championship which is scheduled from January 17 to January 30 this year.

Australian Open

The Australian Open is one of the first major sporting events and the first Grand Slam of the year. It seems like a showdown of greats. There, we will be able to see World No.1 and 2021 Wimbledon champion Ashleigh Barty will compete in the women’s singles. As Barty is an Australian it is on her home turf that she is going to play.

So, if she wins the championship, she will become the first Australian to do so in 44 years. But her biggest challenge is defending champion Naomi Osaka of Japan, who won the tournament twice. Among her other rivals 19-year-old Britain’s Emma Raducanu is paramount. Raducanu won her maiden Grand Slam at the 2021 US Open, and this is her first Australian Open championship.

The men’s singles event will see world No.1 Novak Djokovic, who won three of the four Grand Slams in 2021, including the Australian Open. The 34-year-old Serbian is the biggest draw of the tournament, as he would aim for his 21st major singles title to become the most successful male tennis player in history. However, to acquire that place he will have to compete with world No.2 Daniil Medvedev, who defeated Djokovic at the 2021 US Open finals, and Spanish great Rafael Nadal, who will compete for his 21st Grand Slam win.

Winter Olympics

Second major sports event that will take place in 2022 is the XXIV Olympic Winter Games. It will be held from February 4 to 20 in Beijing, and it is China's first Winter Olympics. Thus, Beijing becomes the first city ever to host both the Summer Olympics and Winter Olympics.

However, because of human rights violations in China, especially in Xinjiang towards the Muslim Uyghurs, United States, Britain, Canada and Australia already announced their absence at the event. And Japan has said they will not send senior officials or Cabinet ministers to China for the Winter Olympics which means a diplomatic boycott. Following the Winter Olympics, Beijing will host the 2022 Winter Paralympic Games from March 4 to March 13.

ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup

Next, we will see the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup 2022 which is scheduled to be held from March 4 to April 3. There, the world's best eight cricketing nations battle it out for glory, and matches will be played in New Zealand.

Interestingly, the Indian team, which is ranked fourth in the ICC Women’s ODI rankings, will go up against Pakistan in their first match.

All the eight teams will face each other once. The top four in the league format will move into the knock-out stages. The final will be played at Hagley Oval, Christchurch.

For the moment, Australia and England became the most winners of the world cup started in 1973, only the 2000 championship was won by New Zealand.

French Open

Another major sporting event is the French Open Tennis Championship which is to be held from May 22 to June 5. In the women’s singles final at the 2021 Championship Barbora Krejčíková of the Czech Republic won her maiden Grand Slam defeating Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of Russia. In the men’s singles 2021, Djokovic defeated Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece to become the first male player in the Open Era to win all four Grand Slams twice.

The Wimbledon

Wimbledon, another major Tennis Championship, is to be held from June 27 to July 10. For the first time in its history, it will not have a Middle Sunday — a traditional day off between the first and second weeks of the tournament. This brings 2022 Wimbledon in line with the other three Grand Slams.

Commonwealth Games

This time Commonwealth Games is hosted by Birmingham, England, and it will be unfolded from July 28 to August 8 with 286 sessions across 19 sports. And it will have more medal events for women than men unlike other times. One added game this time is Women’s T20 in cricket. On the other hand, men’s cricket has been part of the Commonwealth Games since 1998.

Meanwhile, the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF), this year, has allowed athletes to bring Pride flags to the podium. There are 72 countries that are part of the CGF.

US Open

The US Open Tennis Championship also starts this year from August 29 to September11. Russian star and world No.2 Daniil Medvedev was the only player to break the rampaging march of Djokovic 2021, when he defeated the Serbian to win the US Open. But the attention in the US Open will be on defending champion Emma Raducanu, who took the world by storm by becoming one of the youngest winners of a Grand Slam tournament in 2021. Raducanu is currently the youngest of the top 20 players on the WTA list.

Asian Games

Officially known as the XIX Asiad, the mega sporting event will be held in Hangzhou, China from September 10 to 25. There will be 40 sports with 482 events across 61 disciplines. For the first time, players from Australia and other Oceania countries will participate in the Asian Games. The decision was made by the Olympic Council of Asia. The players will, however, be able to participate in only those sports which qualify for the 2024 Olympics through Asia. These include basketball, association football, volleyball and fencing. China has been the leader in the medals tally since the 1982 Asian Games. The Asian Games will be followed by the 2022 Asian Para Games, officially the IV Asian Para Games, from 9 to 15 October at Hangzhou.

FIFA World Cup

The biggest sporting event of 2022 will be held in Qatar from November 12 to December 18. It is the first FIFA World Cup to take place in the Middle East and Arab world. The opening match will be played at the Al Bayt Stadium, which was inaugurated in 2021. As in some of the previous editions, 32 teams will participate in the 2022 FIFA World Cup. France, the defending champions, qualified for the tournament in 2021. Others who qualified by 2021 include Argentina, Brazil, England, Germany and Spain — all of whom are previous FIFA World Cup winners.

Never in history has the World Cup been staged in an Arab country, a Muslim country, in winter, or in a country as small as Qatar.