As we approach the end of 2020, it’s that time of the year when we look back at all of the prominent sports events that transpired over time. But, is the year 2020 really coming to an end, though? Just when started taking sighs of relief as vaccination drives to defeat COVID-19 began, reports came out revealing different strains of the virus creating havoc across the world. But then, that’s a story for another blog altogether.
Today, let’s have a look at some, 20 to be precise, of the top sporting events which took place in 2020 despite that fact that most of the events were either postponed or cancelled. With that said, let’s start rolling:
Undoubtedly the biggest sporting event of the year, Tokyo Olympics 2020 had to be cancelled given the COVID-19 outbreak around the globe. Originally scheduled from 24 July to 9 August 2020, the mega event got postponed in March, earlier this year to 2021. The event, however, seems unlikely to transpire as COVID-19 continues to wreak havoc.
Death of George Floyd in the US during an arrest gave rise to the Black Lives Matter movement. The movement gained pace around the globe as millions came in support of the protests against discriminatory behaviour with people of colour. Test series between England and West Indies was the first international cricketing event befell after the COVID-19 outbreak. The two teams performed the gesture of ‘taking a knee’ during the series to show their support towards the movement.
As if the COVID-19 outbreak wasn’t enough, football fans went further deep into sorrow as the world lost a gem in late Argentine footballer Diego Maradona. The FIFA Player of the 20th Century award winner succumbed to an ‘acute secondary lung edema due to exacerbated chronic heart failure’ on 25 November 2020. Popularly known for his ‘Hand of God’ goal against England at FIFA World Cup 1986, Maradona took Argentina to the title in the same year.
Indian Premier League was the top cricketing tournament to take place amid the COVID-19 pandemic in the UAE. The mega event was postponed to September-October-November 2020 and played without the presence crowd. Also, the tournament was played with new ICC rules, which didn’t allow players to use saliva to shine the ball. Several players and staff members were found COVID-19 positive during the tournament. Mumbai Indians won in the finale against Delhi Capitals, grabbing their fifth IPL title to date.
After a long gap of four years, cricket fans were very excited for the ICC World T20 2020 that was set to be played in Australia. The mega event, however, was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic and will now take place in India in 2021. Also, Asia’s premier event ‘Asia Cup 2020’ was deferred because of the Coronavirus outbreak. The six-team tournament to find the Asian cricket champions will now be held in 2021 in Sri Lanka.
Since crowds were not in most of the sporting events of 2020, Taiwan Baseball Tournament came up with a unique solution to fill the void and not make the stands look empty. Cut-outs of fans were placed on seats in the stadiums during the tournament to create a ‘normal’ scenario for both players and television viewers.
Just like the Taiwan Baseball League, Danish Superliga also tried to fill the void of fans in the stadiums. The football tournament, however, was a step ahead and placed large screens in the stands. Fans were allowed to subscribe and join the live action, and their videos were played live on the screens placed in the stadiums. Similar tech was then used at the IPL as well.
Football fans lost another gem in Paolo Rossi as the Italian forward passed away at 64. An ‘incurable disease’ was cited as the reason behind his death. Rossi scored six goals at the 1982 World Cup and led the Azzurri to its third title. Federica Cappelletti, Rossi’s widow, took to Instagram on the Italian legend’s death. She posted a photograph with Rossi and a caption “per sempre” – “forever”.
MS Dhoni, touted as the most successful captain in the history of Indian cricket, announced his retirement from international cricket on 15 August 2020. The ICC Cricket World Cup 2011, ICC World T20 2007, and three-time IPL winning captain took to Instagram to break the news on India’s Independence Day. Dhoni played IPL 2020 after announcing his retirement. Cricket fans are eager to know if Dhoni will play the next season or not.
With his 643rd goal for the Spanish football club Barcelona, Argentine forward Lionel Messi equalled Pelé’s record for the most number of goals for a club. The 33-year-old achieved the feat in 748 matches against Pelé’s 757. Messi began his journey with the club on 1 May 2005 against Albacete in La Liga, where his team registered a 2-0 win. If we include unofficial matches and goals, Messi has scored 680 goals in 801 appearances for the club.
Indian tennis star Sania Mirza gave us one of the most inspiring stories of 2020. Mirza took part in the WTA Hobart International 2020 with her Ukrainian partner Nadiia Kichenok after giving birth to a baby boy ‘Izhaan Mirza’. In an ode to all the mothers around the world, she mentioned how becoming a mother helps on evolve as a person. She gained 23kgs during her pregnancy before shedding 26kgs to get back on the mat once again. The duo of Sania Mirza and Nadiia Kichenok won the Doubles title at the WTA Hobart International 2020.
The duo of Bajrang Punia and Vinesh Phogat grabbed gold at the Rome Ranking Series 2020. While Bajrang Punia defeated Jordan Oliver 4-3 in the final of 65kg freestyle category, Vinesh won gold as she registered a win over Ecuador’s Luisa Elizabeth Valverde by 4-0. Both wrestlers continue to inspire young kids from India to step on to the mat and make their country proud.
Indian hockey team successfully added a new feather in their cap in 2020 as they beat the Netherlands twice at the Men’s FIH Pro League. Previously, it was 1984 when the Indian team defeated Dutch twice in a row. India crushed the Netherlands by 5-2 in their first match before winning the second game in a shoot-out (3-1).
26th January became a dreadful day for basketball fans as the world lost an astounding basketball player, Kobe Bryant, in a helicopter crash. As many as nine people aboard the helicopter died in the crash that took place in the foggy hills near Calabasas, California. Braynt was heading for a basketball tournament when his helicopter crashed.
World’s number one Formula 1 star Lewis Hamilton had a year of ups & downs. The British Formulae 1 racer tested positive after winning the Bahrain Grand Prix. With the win, Hamilton’s tally reached 95th race wins and 7 world championships. Hamilton had to cancel the ‘Sakhir Grand Prix’ after he tested positive for the Novel Coronavirus. He soon defeated the infection to get back on track.
With a victory over Bradley Klahn by 6-1, 6-3, 3-6, 6-1, Sumit Nagpal, the Indian No. 1, became the first Indian since 2013 to win a Grand Slam game. Nagpal then lost to Dominic Thiem in the second round. Somdev Devvarman (2013 US Open) was the previous Indian tennis player to win a match at the grand event.
Indian team finished their second innings at the Adelaide Oval in their first-ever Pink ball Test against Australia at 36/9. It was the lowest-ever total put on the board by an Indian XI in their 88-year-old history of Test cricket. Also, it was only for the second time in history that none of the 11 batsmen could reach double figures.
After stirring controversies at its debut in 2018, the ‘HALO’ turned out to be a life saviour for French-Swiss F1 racer Romain Grosjean. The device meant to protect drivers against wheels from airborne cars, debris, and other things, saved Romain Grosjean after he met with a 140mph crash that left him in a ball of flames. The HALO helped Grosjean escape the fireball crash at the Sakhir circuit with just minor burns.
Spanish tennis star Rafael Nadal clinched his 13th French Open title in 2020. He beat Serbian Novak Djokovic by 6–0, 6–2, 7–5 in the final to grab the title. With the win, Nadal equalled Roger Federer from Switzerland, with both of them now boasting as many as 20 French Open titles.
Kabaddi fans were left disappointed as the flagship franchise tournament ‘Pro Kabaddi’ was postponed indefinitely due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Slated for its annual July-September window, the tournament will now be held in 2021 once the situation gets better. India captain Deepak Niwas Hooda welcomed the decision in the interest of players’ safety.
Did your favourite sporting event take place in 2020 as planned? Or are you waiting for the action to unfold sometime later in 2021? Even though the year 2020 wasn’t really the one a sport fanatic would like, it did, however, present us some unforgettable moments in different sports around the world. We await the Tokyo Olympics 2021 and the ICC T20 Cricket World with ample excitement. How about you? For all the updates from the sporting world, stay tuned with AlShorts, where we bring you “short news in 30 seconds”.