IAAF World Championships – August 10-18: Today marks exactly 222 days before the world’s best in track and field square up at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, Russia. The spotlight will be on the sprint duels between Jamaica (featuring the world’s fastest man, Usain Bolt (pictured), Yohan Blake and Asafa Powell) and the US (Tyson Gay, Justin Gatlin and Ryan Bailey). The men’s 100m final is on August 11; the 200m final will be run six days later.
Four-team Tournament – June 8-22: Fans will see the Boks in action at Mbombela Stadium for the first time during a new tournament featuring double-header Tests. The Green and Gold will play on June 8. Fans will be able to watch two Tests for the price of one. There will be double-headers at Kings Park on June 15 and at Loftus Versveld on June 22.
Formula 1 – March 17: All eyes will be on Lewis Hamilton (pictured here with Michael Schumacher) at the Australian Grand Prix when the former McLaren driver starts for Mercedes. The 27-year-old is expected to lift a team that had one win in 20 races and ended fifth in last year’s standings.
Fifa Confederations Cup – June 15-30:
The Confederations Cup might no be as popular as the Fifa World Cup, but by late last month, organisers said 132 795 tickets had been sold. Next year’s “Festival of Champions” boasts a mouthwatering line-up that includes hosts Brazil, Italy, Mexico and Japan in Group A. Spain, Uruguay and Tahiti will be joined by the winner of next month’s Africa Cup of Nations to complete Group B.
Fina World Swimming Championships – July to August 27:
Olympic champions Chad le Clos and Cameron van der Burgh, as well as American Ryan Lochte, will be among the drawcards at the aquatic championships. Le Clos will always be remembered as the man who dethroned the legendary Michael Phelps in the 200m butterfly and the attention of the world media will again be on the 20-year-old in the pool in Barcelona, Spain.
Australian Open – January 14-27:
The Australian Open is the first major of the year. The singles main draw will be revealed on January 11 and in all likelihood, the defending men’s and women’s champions – Novak Djokovic and Victoria Azarenka, respectively – are expected to be in the line-up. Other high-profile players expected are last year’s runners-up, Rafael Nadal of Spain and Russian Maria Sharapova. Also in the mix are the Williams sisters – Venus and Serena (pictured) – Roger Federer, Jo-Wilfred Tsonga and Andy Murray, to name a few in the ATP top 10.
Mayweather in action – May 4:
With the Floyd “Money” Mayweather Jr versus Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao dream fight having died down after the latter was knocked out by Juan Manuel Márquez this month, the prospects of watching Mayweather in the new year remain on track.
Africa Cup of Nations – January 19 - February 10:
African football poster boys will be dancing at Africa’s feet. The likes of Yaya Touré (Ivory Coast and Manchester City); John Obi Mikel (Nigeria and Chelsea); André Ayew (Ghana and Olympique de Marseille); and Manucho (Angola and Real Valladolid) arrive for Afcon next month.
Tour de France – June 29 – July 21:
Next year’s Tour de France will be the 100th edition of the popular race. While it is inevitable the cycling race will remain under scrutiny due to its dope-tainted image, there are a few positives to look forward to in June from the African perspective. Tsgabu Grmay of Ethiopia dreams of becoming the first African champion.
Volvo Golf Champions – January 10-13:
Defending champion Branden Grace is among the golfers who will partake in the European Tour’s season opening Tournament of Champions at the Durban Country Club. The event is open only to European Tour players who have won an event on the previous year’s European Tour International Schedule. Other South Africans are Louis Oosthuizen and Retief Goosen.