2016: A flashback

The year 2016 in sport was as frenetic as it was riveting. The ICC World Twenty20 in April, the UEFA European Championship in July and the Rio Olympics in August... . Phew, what a year it has been!

Carlos Brathwaite celebrates after powering West Indies to victory against England in the final of the ICC World Twenty20 Championship at the Eden Gardens on April 3, 2016. Marlon Samuels runs in to congratulate Brathwaite, whose final-over assault put paid to England's hopes.   -  Getty Images

Usain Bolt...the Jamaican was the cynosure at the Rio Olympics.   -  PTI

The Cristiano Ronaldo-inspired Portugal celebrates with the trophy after vanquishing France in the 2016 UEFA European Championship.   -  Getty Images

The year 2016 in sport was as frenetic as it was riveting. The ICC World Twenty20 in April, the UEFA European Championship in July and the Rio Olympics in August… . Phew, what a year it has been!

JANUARY

Australian Open: Novak Djokovic began the year in style by successfully defending his Australian Open men’s singles title. The Serb defeated Andy Murray in straight sets to win a record-equalling sixth title in Australia. In the women’s singles, Angelique Kerber defeated Serena Williams to become the first German to win a Grand Slam title after Steffi Graff had won the French Open in 1999.

FEBRUARY

South Asian Games: India continued its dominance in the South Asian Games by winning the 12th edition of the event. The host won a whopping 308 medals, 188 of them gold, while Sri Lanka finished a distant second, winning 186 medals that included 25 gold.

MARCH

ProKabaddi: Patna Pirates defeated defending champion U Mumba in Delhi to win the ProKabaddi Season-3 title. Raider Pardeep Narwal, who topped the league with 116 raid points, was instrumental in Pirates’ triumph.

 

Tennis: Multiple Grand Slam winner Maria Sharapova tested positive for banned drug meldonium at the Australian Open.

APRIL

ICC World Twenty20: West Indies, courtesy of a final over blitzkrieg by Carlos Brathwaite, beat England in the World T20 final in India. India’s Virat Kohli was named the ‘Player of the Tournament’. West Indies also won the women’s World T20 title, defeating Australia by eight wickets in the final.

MAY

Football Leagues: Leicester City defied 5000-1 odds to lift the English Premier League title. It was truly a story of the underdog rising up to become the top dog.

In Spain, Barcelona retained its La Liga crown — the club’s 24th overall — by fending off pressure from Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid until the final day. The German Bundesliga and Italian Serie A saw Bayern Munich and Juventus continue their dominance and secure the titles in their respective leagues.

Indian Premier League: Sunrisers Hyderabad, boosted by David Warner’s 38-ball 69, chased down Royal Challengers Bangalore’s 200 to win the ninth edition of the IPL.

Champions League: Real Madrid defeated archrival Atletico Madrid in the final at San Siro in Milan to win the Champions League trophy.

JUNE

French Open: Novak Djokovic completed a career Grand Slam (he became the fifth man to do so in the open era) by beating Andy Murray in the men’s singles final at the French Open.

Spaniard Garbine Muguruza won her first Grand Slam title by defeating Serena Williams in the women’s singles final.

Leander Paes and Martina Hingis won the mixed doubles, beating Sania Mirza and Ivan Dodig.

NBA: Cleveland Cavaliers, buoyed by LeBron James’ stellar performances, scripted history by overcoming a 3-1 deficit to defeat defending champion Golden State Warriors 4-3 in the best-of-seven NBA finals.

Copa America Centenario: Chile continued its giant-killing run by winning the special edition Copa America Centenario (conducted to mark the 100th year of the tournament). The team, which also won the 2015 Copa title, defeated the Lionel Messi-led Argentina in the final.

JULY

Wimbledon: Andy Murray defeated Milos Raonic in straight sets to win the men’s singles title, while Serena Williams equalled Steffi Graff's Open Era record of 22 major singles titles by beating Angelique Kerber in the women’s final.

EURO: The Cristiano Ronaldo-inspired Portugal defeated host France in the final to clinch the UEFA EURO 2016 title. The expanded tournament (24 nations played instead of the usual 16) saw many surprise stories, including Iceland’s victory against England and Wales’ run to the semifinals.

ProKabaddi: Raider Pardeep Narwal continued from where he left off in January, as he inspired Patna Pirates to another ProKabaddi title. The ‘Men in Green’ defeated Jaipur Pink Panthers in the final.

Olympics: Russia’s track and field athletes lost the appeal against their blanket ban for Rio Olympics following the revelation of a state-sponsored doping programme.

AUGUST

Rio Olympics: Rio overcame a swarm of controversies, including the instability of Brazil’s federal government and the Zika virus threat, to host the Olympics.

 

The United States of America was the overall winner, while Olympic history-makers Usain Bolt (athletics) and Michael Phelps (swimming) stole the show once again by winning multiple gold medals in their respective events and subsequently announced that Rio would be their last Olympics.

P. V. Sindhu became the first Indian woman to win a silver medal in Olympics when she reached the singles final of badminton in Rio. She eventually lost to Spain’s Carolina Marin in the final. Wrestler Sakshi Malik won the bronze medal for India in the women’s 58 kg freestyle category.

Former gold medal-winning shooter Abhinav Bindra and gymnast Dipa Karmakar, whose execution of the difficult ‘Produnova’ vault won her international fame, narrowly missed out on medals. Bindra announced his retirement after the event.

SEPTEMBER

Paralympics: India won four medals at the Summer Paralympics. Mariyappan Thangavelu won the gold in men’s high jump T42, while Devendra Jhajharia won the javelin throw F46 gold by shattering the World record. China was the overall winner.

U.S. Open: Stan Wawrinka defeated Novak Djokovic to clinch the U.S. Open men’s singles title, while Angelique Kerber continued her remarkable run by beating Karolina Pliskova in the women’s singles final.

OCTOBER

Moto GP: Marc Marquez, at 23, became the youngest-ever three-time MotoGP World Champion. The Spaniard secured his third championship in four years with victory at the Japanese Grand Prix.

NOVEMBER

Bengaluru FC: The I-League team made history by becoming the first Indian club to play in an AFC tournament final. BFC, which reached the final of the AFC Cup by beating Johor Darul Ta’zim, eventually lost to Air Force Club (Iraq) in Doha.

Formula 1: Nico Rosberg of Mercedes GP won his maiden Formula One World title after fending off a late challenge from team-mate Lewis Hamilton. However, barely five days after his triumph, the German announced his retirement from the sport.

Tennis: Andy Murray was confirmed as the year-end World No. 1 when he defeated Novak Djokovic in the ATP World Tour Final in London.

DECEMBER

Hockey: India won the junior men’s World Cup, defeating Belgium 2-1 in the final in Lucknow.

Football: Cristiano Ronaldo scored a hat-trick as Real Madrid beat Kashima Antlers 4-2 in extra-time to win the FIFA Club World Cup final.

Cricket: India thrashed England 4-0 in a five-Test series to end the year as the No. 1 Test-playing nation. Indian spinners, Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja, became No. 1 and No. 2 respectively in Test bowling rankings at the end of the series.