Stars of 2020

Stars of 2020, year in review: Presenting top eight sportspersons who shone on and off the field in the year gone by.

Robert Lewandowski
The best shines for Bayern Without a shadow of a doubt, Robert Lewandowski was the best male footballer of 2020. The Polish striker won five trophies — the Bundesliga, the DFB-Pokal, DFL-Supercup, the UEFA Champions League and the UEFA Super Cup — with German club Bayern Munich in the 2019-20 season. He ended the year as the leading goal-scorer from Europe’s top five leagues, scoring 45 times in 40 games. He also racked up 12 assists in the process. Lewandowski eventually took home The Best FIFA Men’s Player 2020 and the UEFA Men’s Player of the Year honours. - Dominic Richard Photo: Getty Images
Ben Stokes
Shining in troubled times Ben Stokes had a rough year on the personal front. His father, Ged, died after a yearlong battle with brain cancer. But on the field, the England all-rounder was unstoppable. At the end of 2020, Stokes entered the record books after averaging below 20 with the ball and 50-plus with the bat in a calendar year. Stokes topped the Test aggregate of the year with 641 runs at an average of 58.27, including two hundreds, and picked up 19 wickets at 18.73. Former Australia cricketer Steve Waugh had achieved a similar feat in 1994 — 677 runs at 67.70 and 15 wickets at 15.86. Stokes also picked up the Player of the Series award in South Africa. - Wriddhaayan Bhattacharyya Photo: Getty Images
Dominic Thiem
First non-Big Three winner in four years Dominic Thiem had a year to remember. After losing his first three Grand Slam finals (French Open 2018, ’19 and Australian Open 2020), he finally won his first Major when he came back from two sets down to defeat Alexander Zverev in the final of the US Open, becoming the second Austrian Grand Slam winner after Thomas Muster triumphed at the 1995 French Open. The 27-year-old Thiem finished second-best at the Australian Open and the ATP Tour finals, but improved his world ranking to third after starting the year at fourth. - Shivansh Gupta Photo: AP
Rafael Nadal
Another year, another Roland Garros title Rafael Nadal scripted more history in 2020. He won a record-extending 13th French Open title – which included a first-set bagel of Novak Djokovic in the final – and equalled Roger Federer’s mark of 20 Grand Slam singles titles. Nadal also led Spain to the final of the inaugural ATP Cup in January 2020 and won the Mexican Open in Acapulco before the coronavirus-enforced lockdown. The 34-year-old began 2020 as the world No. 1, but finished it at No. 2 behind his great Serbian rival. Nadal, however, finished the year ranked in the world’s top two for a record 12th time, breaking his tie with Roger Federer. - Shivansh Gupta Photo: Getty Images
Lucy Bronze
An illustrious year Lucy Bronze won her third consecutive UEFA Women’s Champions League title with Olympique Lyonnais Feminin before rejoining Manchester City in 2020. The 29-year-old full-back then claimed the Best FIFA Women’s Player Award, becoming both the first-ever defender and English star to win the honour. Her illustrious trophy cabinet also saw the addition of the French Division 1, Coupe de France and FA Cup trophies in 2020. Bronze scored a goal and provided three assists, and was part of five clean sheets in 11 appearances for City before the end of the year. - Dominic Richard Photo: Getty Images
Amit Panghal
Back with a bang As was the case with most of his contemporaries, 2020 was a challenging year for Amit Panghal. With the country going into a lockdown, it wasn’t possible to train much. But when the Indian boxing contingent travelled to Europe at the end of the year, Panghal made the most of the opportunity. He won two gold medals in as many events during a 67-day training and competition campaign in Europe. Featuring in his first international event since the lockdown, he won gold at the Alexis Valentine International Boxing Tournament in October in Nantes, France, and followed it up with another at the Cologne World Cup in Germany in December. It wasn’t easy to be back in the ring after a long break, but Panghal overcame the quarantine challenges and underwent around a dozen of COVID-19 tests before attaining glory. - Shayan Acharya Photo: PTI
Lewis Hamilton
In seventh heaven Lewis Hamilton’s 2020 season was filled with records. The Mercedes racer won his seventh Formula One world drivers’ championship — his fourth in a row — to go equal with Michael Schumacher. Hamilton also overtook Schumacher’s mark of 91 F1 race victories, ending the season on 95, and led Mercedes to a seventh consecutive constructors’ championship. BBC named the Briton its Sports Personality of the Year for his work both on and off the track. Hamilton’s work towards raising awareness about racism and the Black Lives Matter movement inspired the entire F1 community as well as people around the world. - Shivansh Gupta Photo: Getty Images
Joshua Cheptegei
A year of records Joshua Cheptegei began his record-setting run at the end of 2019, breaking the 10k road race mark in Spain in December that year. On February 16, he set the 5km road race world record of 12:51 in Monaco, breaking the previous official record by 31 seconds and shaving nine seconds off the previous fastest time ever recorded by Sammy Kipketer in 2000. In August, Cheptegei broke Kenenisa Bekele’s 16-year-old record by running the 5,000m in 12:35.36. In October, the Ugandan then set a world record time of 26:11.00 in the 10,000m, improving on Bekele’s 15-year-old record by more than six seconds. - Neil Rodricks Photo: Getty Images