India as host: The non-cricket calendar for 2023
From the MotoGP to the Hockey World Cup, here are some non-cricket sporting events that India is set to host in 2023
From the MotoGP to the Hockey World Cup, here are some non-cricket sporting events that India is set to host in 2023.
Racing: Hyderabad ePrix, MotoGP
Racecars are returning, and motorcycle-racing will make its debut in India, as circuits finally vroom back to life amid altered regulations. The Formula E – the world’s premier electric-car-racing series – to be held in Hyderabad in February, will be India’s first major motorsport event in 10 years.
A decade ago, in 2013, Formula 1 called it quits after its third Grand Prix here. The racing event faced financial, logistical, bureaucratic and tax hurdles caused largely by the fact that the government didn’t recognise it as a sport and classified it as entertainment instead. The Centre has since reconsidered, and recognised the Federation of Motor Sports Clubs of India, the sport’s governing body, as a national sports federation in 2015.
The Hyderabad ePrix will be the first event held under these new conditions. Electric cars will race on a temporary 2.4-km track to be set up along the banks of Hyderabad’s Hussain Sagar lake. Incidentally, the series also has an Indian team competing. Mahindra Racing has been around since the first season of Formula E in 2014-15, and recently signed India’s Jehan Daruvala as a reserve driver.
Meanwhile, in September, the iconic Buddh International Circuit will see international action again, as MotoGP makes its debut in India with the Grand Prix of Bharat. The 5.12-km circuit in Greater Noida, once home to the Formula 1 Indian Grand Prix, will host the world’s premier motorcycle-racing series. All MotoGP manufacturers (including Honda, Yamaha, Ducati and Aprilia) are keen to race as they produce two-wheelers for the Indian market.
Boxing: Women’s World Championships
The Women’s World Boxing Championships will be held in India for the third time (after 2006 and 2018). The biennial event will be held in Delhi, in March. Since its inception in 2001, India has been the fourth-most-successful country at this event (behind Russia, China and Turkey), with a total tally of 39 medals (10 gold, 8 silver and 21 bronze). The gold medals have been won by Mary Kom (6), Nikhat Zareen (1), Sarita Devi (1), Jenny RL (1) and Lekha KC (1). At the 2023 competition, the Boxing Federation of India and International Boxing Association are working to introduce a historic digital bout-review system too.
Wrestling: Asian Championships
The Asian Championships will return to India as New Delhi hosts the annual event from March 28 to April 2. This will be the ninth time in 36 years that India hosts the continental championship. When Delhi last hosted, in February 2020, India finished third in the standings, behind Japan and Iran, with a total of 20 medals (five gold, six silver and nine bronze). At the 2022 championships held in Ulaanbaatar, India finished fifth behind Japan, Iran, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, with 17 medals (one gold, five silver and 11 bronze medals).
Hockey: World Cup
The Hockey World Cup returns to Odisha for a second consecutive time. Bhubaneswar hosted the tournament in November-December 2018 and will host in Bhubaneswar and Rourkela from January 13 to 29, 2023. The 15th edition of the World Cup will be the fourth held in India (after Mumbai 1982, New Delhi 2010 and Bhubaneswar 2018). While Bhubaneswar will host the knockouts, Rourkela’s new stadium – the largest in India, with a capacity of 20,000 – will see the Indian men’s hockey team play its first two group matches on January 13 and 15, against Spain and England respectively. Last time around, the hosts were knocked out 1-2 by finalists Netherlands in the quarter-finals. But things have changed since the bronze in Tokyo, India’s first Olympic medal in 41 years. The hosts will now be aiming to reach the World Cup podium for the first time since the historic (and only) such win, in Kuala Lumpur, in 1975.
Badminton: India Open
Reigning Olympic and world champions such as China’s Chen Yufei, Japan’s Akane Yamaguchi and Denmark’s Viktor Axelsen will play at the India Open (a Badminton World Federation Super Series event since 2011), due to be held in New Delhi from January 17 to 22.
After the cancellation of the 2020 and 2021 editions amid the pandemic, the Badminton Association of India conducted the event behind closed doors in 2022, but organisers have confirmed that spectators will be allowed in this time around.
Two-time Olympic medallist PV Sindhu is expected to play, after missing half of 2022 due to a stress fracture sustained while winning the Commonwealth Games gold in Birmingham in August. Men’s singles defending champion Lakshya Sen and former World No. 1 Kidambi Srikanth will lead India’s charge, along with World No 5 Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy, who were the first Indian men’s doubles pair to clinch the title, in 2022.
Table tennis: WTT Star Contender
The International Table Tennis Federation has awarded Goa the rights to host India’s first-ever World Table Tennis (WTT) series event. The top-tier WTT Star Contender has been scheduled from February 27 to March 5. This is a professional series with the world’s best players facing off in various category tournaments through the year, with four Grand Smashes being the ultimate prizes to win. The draw is 48 singles, 16 doubles teams, and eight mixed- doubles teams.