2019, the year in sports: Highlights of September, October, November, December

From South Africa's third rugby World Cup triumph to Liverpool's continued dominance, here are the top highlights from the world of sports between September and December 2019.

South Africa lifts the Rugby World Cup, Shami celebrates a wicket, Messi with his Ballon d'Or crown and Liverpool wins first Club World Cup.   -  Getty Images/K.R. Deepak/GETTY IMAGES/REUTERS

SEPTEMBER

AIBA Men’s World Championships (September 7 – 21) [Boxing]:

The 2019 AIBA World Boxing Championships is hosted by Russia in the city of Yekaterinburg. 365 competitors from over 70 nations take part in the event. Uzbekistan boxers top the medals table with three gold, one silver and one bronze (5 in total), while host Russia’s men finish just behind in second with three gold and one bronze (4 in total). The Kazakhstan pugilists win the most medals in total (6), with a gold, a silver and four bronze. Amit Panghal (silver in flyweight category) and Manish Kaushik (bronze in lightweight category) are the Indian medallists at the Championships.

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UWW World Championships (September 14 – 22) [Wrestling]:

The 2019 World Wrestling Championships is held in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan. There are three categories at the event namely the Men’s Freestyle, Men’s Greco-Roman and Women’s Freestyle. Russia ends up with the most medals and points in both the Men’s categories, while Japan bags the top honour in the Women’s section. Overall, Russia ends the Championships with nine golds, five silvers and five bronze (a mammoth 19 medals in total). United States finishes second in the overall medals table with five golds and two bronze (seven in total). The Indian wrestlers bag a solitary silver and four bronzes in Kazakhstan. Deepak Punia wins India’s only silver medal in the Men’s Freestyle 86kg category, while Ravi Kumar Dahiya (MFS 57kg), Rahul Aware (MFS 61kg), Bajrang Punia (MFS 65kg) and Vinesh Phogat (WFS 53kg) take home a bronze medal each.

South Africa ran into the searing pace of India's Mohammed Shami as the Proteas were humbled 3-0.

 

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South Africa tour of India (September 15 – October 23) [Cricket]:

South Africa’s tour of India consists of three T20Is and three Tests. The first T20I in Dharamsala is washed out. India beats South Africa by seven wickets in the second game in Mohali, while the visitor makes a comeback in the third match and defeats India by nine wickets in Bengaluru to level the series 1-1. The test matches are part of the World Test Championship. India seals a 3-0 whitewash with a 203-run win in the first Test and two innings victories to follow that, thereby claiming full 120 points from the series. 

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IWF World Championships (September 16 – 25) [Weightlifting]:

Pattaya, Thailand hosts the 2019 Weightlifting World Championships. Over 500 competitors from 97 nations participate in the event. Egypt is banned from the Championships due to doping offences. Eventually, Chinese lifters dominate the competition and occupy the top spot in the medals tally with 18 medals (10 golds, five silvers, three bronze). North Korea and Armenia bag two gold medals each. India’s Mirabai Chanu puts up an impressive performance in the women’s 49kg category. However, she misses out on a medal by a whisker as she finishes fourth due to a deficit of three kilograms.

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Rugby World Cup (September 20 – November 2) [Rugby]:

The ninth Rugby World Cup begins in Japan on September 20. Twenty teams were divided into four pools (A, B, C, D). The top two teams from each group in the league stage advance to the quarterfinals. England beats Australia in the first quarterfinal and New Zealand comes out on top against Ireland to set up a clash between the two sides in the semis. The other semifinal is between Wales, which beats France, and South Africa, which defeats host Japan. In semifinal one, England dominates New Zealand in a 19-7 win. South Africa wins the other last-four fixture 19-16 against Wales. This is England’s fourth final, while it’s the third for South Africa. South Africa beats England 32-12 in the summit clash to win a third World Cup title.

NOVEMBER 2019: South Africa's Siya Kolisi lifts the Webb Ellis Cup following his team's sensational victory against England in the Rugby World Cup Final at the International Stadium in Yokohama.

NOVEMBER 2019: South Africa's Siya Kolisi lifts the Webb Ellis Cup following his team's sensational victory against England in the Rugby World Cup Final at the International Stadium in Yokohama.   -  Getty Images

 

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FIFA World Cup Asian Qualifiers [Football] (September - June 2020):

India opens its qualifying campaign with a 1-2 loss to Oman at home. India then travels to Qatar, 2022 FIFA World Cup’s host, and earns a hard-fought goalless draw. Next up, India ends up playing a 1-1 draw against Bangladesh at home. India then holds Afghanistan to a 1-1 away draw. Last but not the least, India falls to a 1-0 defeat away at Oman, almost being knocked out of the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifying round. India has three points from five games and it is placed fourth in Group E.

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FIFA Best Awards (September 23) and Ballon d'Or (December 2) [Football]:

Argentina and Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi claims top honours in the men's category at both the award ceremonies, while Megan Rapinoe of United States (USA) and Reign FC takes home the highest honours in the women's division. The 2019 Ballon d'Or award is Messi's sixth in his career which is the most ever won by any football player.

Barcelona's Lionel Messi won his sixth Ballon d'Or and in the process overtaking Juventus' Cristiano Ronaldo's haul.   -  REUTERS

 

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IAAF World Championships (September 28 – October 6) [Athletics]:

The 2019 IAAF World Championships is conducted in Doha, Qatar. This is the 17th edition of the global Athletics event. The athletes of the United States (USA) win the most medals at the event. USA ends with 14 golds, 11 silvers and four bronze (29 medals in total). Kenya and Jamaica are the only other teams to cross the 10-medal mark at the Championships. A number of records are also broken during the event. USA’s Dalilah Muhammad breaks her own women’s 400m hurdles World Record (WR), while the USA mixed relay team breaks the WR twice in a span of two days. Some Championships Records (CRs) are also shattered in the process. Dutchwoman Sifan Hassan, who breaks the 1500m CR in a gold medal run, also completes an unprecedented double by bagging the top honour in the 10000m event as well.

Team USA won the most medals at the IAAF World Championships.   -  Getty Images

 

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OCTOBER 

AIBA Women’s World Boxing Championships (October 3 – 13) [Boxing]:

The 2019 AIBA Women’s World Boxing Championships is held in Ulan-Ude, Russia. Home side Russia ends the competition as the only team to win more than one gold medal. It wins six in total (three gold, one silver, two bronze). China finishes second by claiming five medals (one gold, three silver and one bronze). India wins four medals (one silver, three bronze) at the 2019 Worlds. Manju Rani bags the silver in the 48kg category, while Mary Kom (51kg), Jamuna Boro (54kg) and Lovlina Borgohain (69kg) take home a bronze medal each.

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Eliud Kipchoge’s sub two-hour marathon (October 12) [Athletics]:

Kenyan long-distance runner Eliud Kipchoge, the men’s marathon world record (WR) holder, makes an attempt to become the first person ever to run a sub two-hour marathon. Vienna in Austria is chosen as the venue for the event. During the run, he is assisted by 41 pacemakers and a car in front of them setting the pace. He successfully completes the course in 1 hour, 59 minutes and 40.2 seconds, thereby making good on a failed attempt two years ago in Monza, Italy. Since Kipchoge is not competing with anyone, this history-making record of his will not be validated by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) as a WR.

Kenya's Eliud Kipchoge, the marathon world record holder, crosses the finish line during his attempt to run a marathon in under two hours in Vienna.   -  REUTERS

 

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WTA Finals (October 27 – November 3) [Tennis]: 

The 2019 WTA Finals – WTA’s year-end tournament – takes place in Shenzhen, China. Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina is the defending champion in singles and she is seeded eighth this edition. Timea Babos and Kristina Mladenovic, the third seeds, are the defending champions in doubles. Svitolina once again makes the final after topping the purple group and defeating Belinda Bencic of Switzerland in the semis. In the other semifinal, World No. 1 Ashleigh Barty of Australia beats Czech Republic’s Karolina Pliskova. Barty goes on to get the better of Svitolina in straight sets in the singles final. Babos and Mladenovic successfully defend their doubles title by defeating Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova in the final.

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2019 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships (October 4 - 13) [Gymnastics]:

The 2019 World Gymnastics Championships is the 49th edition of the competition. It is held in Stuttgart, Germany. Simone Biles of USA becomes the most decorated gymnast in the history of the Championships and she does it in style with a gold medal in the balance beam, her 24th. She also wins the gold medal in the floor exercise event to finish with five gold medals out of six events and takes her overall medal tally to 25, of which 19 are gold.

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NOVEMBER

India Women in West Indies ODI series (November 1 – 6)  [Cricket]:

India wins series 2-1, winning the final ODI by six wickets. Smriti Mandhana and Jemimah Rodrigues hit contrasting half-centuries in the deciding third ODI.

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FIH Hockey Olympic Qualifiers- Women, Odisha (November 1 – 2) [Hockey]:

After winning the first leg 5-1 against USA, India losses in the second tie 1-4 but Rani Rampal’s late goal makes the difference as India progresses to Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

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Rani Rampal celebrates with her team-mates after her crucial goal that sealed India's place at Tokyo 2020 Olympics.   -  Biswaranjan Rout

 

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FIH Hockey Olympic Qualifiers- Men, Odisha (November 1 – 2) [Hockey]:

With 4-2 and 7-1 wins over Russia, India seals its ticket to Tokyo Olympics.

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Bangladesh tour of India (November 3 – 26) [Cricket]: 

The series consists of two T20Is and three two Tests. Bangladesh beats India by seven wickets in the first T20I in Delhi to register its first-ever win over the home side in the format. However, India defeats the visitor in the last two T20Is in Rajkot and Nagpur. The first Test match takes place in Indore and India wins it by an innings and 130 runs. The second Test in Kolkata is the first-ever day/night Test for both the teams. India defeats Bangladesh by an innings and 46 runs in the pink ball Test to claim another 120 points.

A view of the action under floodlights on the first day of the first pink ball day-night Test match between India and Bangladesh at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata.   -  K. R. Deepak

 

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Fed Cup Final (November 10) [Tennis]:

France wins its first Fed Cup title in 16 years as Kristina Mladenovic and Caroline Garcia win a deciding doubles rubber to beat Australia 3-2.

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ATP World Tour Finals (November 10 – 18) [Tennis]:

The 2019 ATP World Tour Finals – ATP’s year-end tournament – takes place at the O2 arena in London. Germany’s Alexander Zverev is the defending champion in singles and he is the seventh seed this time, while American duo of Mike Bryan and Jack Sock are not there to defend their doubles title. Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas beats Roger Federer of Switzerland in the first singles semifinal. Austria’s Dominic Thiem defeats Zverev in the other encounter. Tsitsipas overcomes Thiem in the final to win the ATP Finals trophy on his debut. French pair Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut beats Raven Klaasen and Michael Venus to win the doubles trophy.

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Davis Cup Finals, Spain (November 18 –  24) [Tennis]:

Spain wins sixth world title defeating Canada in the final, 2-0. It is the Spanish team's first Davis Cup title since 2011. Rafael Nadal defeats Denis Shapovalov 6-3, 7-6(7); Bautista Agut defeats Auger-Aliassime in tie's first rubber.

Team Spain celebrates with the trophy after beating Canada in the final of the 2019 Davis Cup.   -  Getty Images

 

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Equestrian Olympic Qualifiers [November 22] 

Double Asian Games medallist equestrian Fouaad Mirza secured an Olympic quota after finishing as the top-ranked rider in his group in the qualifiers, ending a wait spanning nearly two decades.

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DECEMBER

South Asian Games (December 1 - 10) [Multisport]:

India records the highest-ever medal tally of 312 medals including 174 gold, 93 silver, and 45 bronze medals.

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Andy Ruiz Jr. vs Anthony Joshua II (December 7) [Boxing]:

Unified WBA (Super), IBF, WBO and IBO heavyweight champion Andy Ruiz Jr. takes on challenger Anthony Joshua at Al-Turaif, a UNESCO World Heritage site, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The bout is a contractual rematch that was triggered by Joshua after losing to Ruiz at Madison Square Garden in New York on June 1, 2019. The encounter is officially termed as the ‘Clash on the Dunes’. Joshua avenges the only loss of his professional boxing career by recording a landslide points win over Ruiz. Therefore, he regains the IBF, WBO and WBA heavyweight title belts in the process.

Anthony Joshua celebrates his victory in the rematch over Andy Ruiz Jr.   -  Getty Images

 

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BWF World Tour Finals (December 11 – 15) [Badminton]:

The 2019 BWF World Tour Finals is held at Tianhe Gymnasium in Guangzhou, China. Japan’s World No. 1 Kento Momota beats Anthony Sinisuka Ginting of Indonesia in the final to win the men’s singles title. Chen Yufei of China claims top honours in the women’s singles category after defeating Chinese Taipei’s Tai Tzu-ying. Indonesian duo of Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan win the men’s doubles title, while Chen Qingchen and Jia Yifan from China bag the women’s doubles gold medal. China’s Zheng Siwei and Huang Yaqiong win an all-Chinese affair in the mixed doubles final to snatch the gold.

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President’s Cup (December 9 - 15) [Golf]:

Tiger Woods' USA team dominates singles as they beat the International team 16-14 in Melbourne to win an eighth successive Presidents Cup.

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2019 FIFA Club World Cup (December 11 - 21) [Football]:

Premier League team Liverpool wins the 2019 Club World Cup by defeating Brazilian club Flamengo 1-0 after extra time in the final at the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha, Qatar. Mexican side Monterrey beats Al-Hilal from Saudi Arabia in the third-place playoff to bag the bronze.

Liverpool celebrates winning the Club World Cup in Doha.   -  Getty Images

 

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Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy (November 8 - December 1) [Cricket]: 

Karnataka edges Tamil Nadu by one run in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy final to retain the title, with Krishnappa Gowtham defending 12 runs in the final over.

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West Indies in India T20I Series (December 6-11) [Cricket]: 

India clinches the three-match series 2-1 by winning the third and final T201 by 67 runs in Mumbai. India won the first match by six wickets in Hyderabad but fell to an eight-wicket loss in Thiruvanthapuram.

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West Indies in India ODI Series (December 15 - 22) [Cricket]:

India wins the three-match series 2-1 beating West Indies 107 runs in the second match at Vizag and by four wickets in the third and final ODI in Cuttack.

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Italian Super Cup (December 22) [Football]: 

Lazio beats Juventus 3-1 to win Supercoppa Italiana for the second time in three years as Luis Alberto, Senad Lunic and Danilo Cataldi scored for Simeone Inzaghi’s men in Riyadh.

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Women’s World Rapid Chess Championship (December 28) [Chess]:

Koneru Humpy's long wait finally ends after she beats Lei Tingjie in the Armageddon to win the Women's World Rapid Chess Championship in Moscow.

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COMPILED BY MANASI PATHAK AND DOMINIC RICHARD

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