The year 2021 gave sports fans, especially Indian, several moments to relish: Indian Men’s Team’s second triumph in Australia, Neeraj Chopra becoming the country’s first athlete to win the precious yellow metal, Argentina-led Messi winning the Copa America etc. These apart there have been several other glorious moments in the sporting arena last year. These achievements have multiplied expectations among sports enthusiasts this year also as there are several important dates in the sporting calendar of 2022. So, let us recount these events of significance one by one.
Winter Olympics (February)
Despite several controversies and diplomatic boycotts, the event in Beijing is going to set the tempo for the rest of this year. The event poised to start in February will have lesser games than the Summer variant, but all of them look very interesting. They include Alpine skiing, biathlon, bobsled, cross-country skiing, curling, figure skating, freestyle skiing, ice hockey, luge, Nordic combined, skeleton, ski jumping, snowboarding and speedskating. For India, Arif Mohammed Khan has become the first Indian athlete to qualify for dual events: Slalom and Giant Slalom.
Women ODI World Cup (March)
The 12th edition of the Women’s ODI World Cup will be held in New Zealand and it has assumed significance for several reasons, especially for India and Pakistan. Despite making giant strides, the Indian women cricketers have failed to win a trophy thus far. Since this one being the last outing for stalwarts like Mithali Raj and Jhulan Goswami, the team would be more than eager to lift the trophy as a parting gift for these players. For Pakistan, Bismah Maroof returns to captain the side after a two years maternity break.
Asian Games (September)
The Asian Games will be played from September 10 to September 25 in China this year. The sporting carnival this time will include 40 sports with a total of 60 disciplines. Apart from E-Sports and Breakdancing, the games in 2022 will see T-20 cricket as well. Also, for the first time in the game’s history, the newest edition will see the participation of more than 300 athletes from Oceania countries. They will be permitted to ply their wares in five sports: triathlon, athletics, wushu, roller skating, and weightlifting. All in all, this is going to be a special one for every sports fan in the Asian continent.
Men’s T-20 World Cup (October)
Australia will finally get the opportunity to hold the T-20 World Cup this year after the Corona-led disruptions robbed the country of the honour in 2020. The home team will also look to defend the title they won last year in Dubai. For India, it will be a new chapter as the team will be having a new captain Rohit Sharma and head coach Rahul Dravid and they would want to erase the memory of last year with a clinical display this time. There are other serious contenders for the title such as New Zealand, Pakistan, West Indies and Sri Lanka as well. So, it is a wide-open contest with no clear favourites, at least at this point in time.
FIFA Men’s Football World Cup (November)
The all-important Men’s World Cup will be played in the Gulf country for the first time this year. The mouth-watering and riveting affair will begin in November instead of the routine June-July period, the only time of the year when Mercury falls drastically in the Arab country. A total of 32 countries will be vying for the coveted trophy this time. The question that is lingering around the minds of several sports fans is: Can Messi or Ronaldo do it for their respective teams one last time? For the Argentine and Portuguese legends the Qatar edition, in all likelihood, is going to be the last opportunity. So, will it be the cries of jubilation or another frustrating end, come November we will find out.