The Winter Olympics, T20 World Cup, Commonwealth Games, hockey World Cup, Asian Games and one of the biggest sporting spectacles, the football World Cup, are all scheduled to take place in the span of a year. Quite naturally, sports enthusiasts are waiting with bated breath for 2014.
And with tickets for most events already on sale, this would be the time to plan a trip to one, two or all the extravangazas and visit an exotic country while you do it. So, you could head to Rio de Janeiro to cheer for Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, or make a short trip to the Netherlands to see India in action at the hockey World Cup. You could watch the world’s fastest man at Glasgow, should he decide to participate in the Commonwealth Games, or catch the Indian contingent better their medals tally at the Asian Games in South Korea. With so much sporting action to look forward to, the time to start making those itineraries is now. Here’s our guide to the best of 2014.
Ashes and Australian Open
Sydney and Melbourne, Australia
Start your tour with a trip to the land down under and watch the Australian cricket team try to win back the Ashes in the final Test in Sydney from January 3-7. Then head to the first Grand Slam of the season and cheer on Rafael Nadal or Novak Djokovic on the hard courts.
After London hosted a successful Summer Olympics in 2012, the action now shifts to Sochi, which will organise the 22nd Winter Olympics. Ninety-eight events in 15 winter sports will be held at the venue, with a few events held in the resort town of Krasnaya Polyana. Tickets are on sale at www.sochi2014.com/en.
March 16-April 6
ICC Twenty20 World Cup
In 2012, T20 cricket was hit by a ‘Gayle storm’ when the Jamaican cricketer and his teammates won the series. While there are doubts about the host nation’s ability to organise the tournament, all eyes will be on whether ‘Captain Cool’ MS Dhoni will be able to clinch it.
IIHF World Championship Division I
Lithuania, South Korea
Now we get that ice hockey is a niche sport with few followers in India. However, with two exotic venues — Vilnius and Seoul — hosting the group stages, this could be the time to travel and pick up a few pointers before the World Cup.
May 31 to June 15
Men's Hockey World Cup
The Hague, Netherlands
After a thumping victory over Malaysia in the ongoing Asia Cup, India have managed to book a berth in the 2014 World Cup. And even though Pakistan failed to qualify for the first time, you could catch 12 of the best teams in action.
June 12-July 13
FIFA World Cup
The biggest sporting spectacle of 2014 takes place in the self-proclaimed ‘Land of Soccer’ with 12 cities hosting 32 teams from around the world. Tickets have gone on sale on www.fifa.com.
July 23 to August 3
From the precision of lawn bowls to high-adrenaline track events and graceful gymnastics, athletes from 17 sports will compete for medals on offer. Tickets have gone on sale at www.glasgow2014.com.
August 30-September 14
FIBA Basketball World Cup
The inaugural edition of the World Cup takes place in Spain this year. The event was known from 1950 until 2010 as the FIBA World Championship. Twenty-four teams will take part in the 2014 edition that takes place across multiple cities.
September 19-October 4
Incheon, South Korea
The organisers expect 13,000 athletes to participate in this sporting extravaganza that spans 16 days. Thirty-six sports (28 Olympic and 8 non-Olympic events) will be featured. Interestingly, cricket and kabaddi are also a part of the event.
World Series Baseball
This is an annual series played between the American League and National League team champions. The World Series has followed the best-of-seven format, except from 1919-21 when it returned briefly to best-of-nine.
First round ties will take place on February 8-9. The 2013 finalists automatically made it to the 2014 World Group, while the remaining seeds were based on the latest ITF Fed Cup Nations Ranking of April 22, 2013.
FIH Champions Trophy India (to be confirmed)
The official website of The International Hockey Federation says the tournament is yet to be confirmed. However, should it take place, as host country, India would automatically qualify for a spot in the tournament.