We’re two weeks into the decade and almost every global sport – tennis, cricket, football – is in the thick of it already. But it should be more than just switching on the television and devouring the first match you see. So, for a bit of order, let’s put together 5 of the most anticipated tournaments of 2020. These tournaments aren’t just the domestic Indian ones – it’s also those that will have some kind of Indian participation on a global platform. Trust me, 2020 is that year.
Here are 5 such tournaments:
ICC Men’s World T20
12 of the top cricket teams will battle it out down under between Oct 18-Nov 15 in the 7th T20 World Cup for a month. Before that, the Qualifiers will take place – where ex-champions Sri Lanka and Bangladesh will have to face off against associate teams like Oman, Ireland, Netherlands and Scotland to qualify for the main draw. The 8 top-ranked teams are already part of the tournament – 4 out of the 8 in the qualifiers will join them by October. India is one of the favourites to win its second World T20 championship – West Indies are the only 2-time winners, and Australia are well-placed to win the only trophy missing from their cabinet. It’s going to be an exciting T20 championship, the first since 2016 in India (won by Carlos Braithwaite’s sensational last-over dash against Ben Stokes).
Venue: Tokyo, Japan
The 32nd Summer Olympics is officially known as Tokyo 2020 – four years after Rio 2016. The Olympics has been the biggest and most prestigious global sports meet in the world for decades – and the two weeks the world looks beyond popular sports like football, basketball, baseball and cricket (even though some of them are legitimate events in the Olympics). Individual brilliance will be at the fore as athletes from over 206 nations will lock horns in 33 sports – India is one of them, and will be clamouring to win its first gold medal since shooter Abhinav Bindra’s back in 2008. PV Sindhu came close in Rio, but 2020 is India’s best chance yet, with javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra and archer Deepika Kumari leading the way. The athletic field events and swimming events will be the most-watched – but it’s in wrestling, shooting, archery, boxing and badminton that India is expected to excel. By August 9th, we may just have a new national superstar.
Kabaddi World Cup
The dates are yet to be released, but the 4th Standard-style Kabaddi World Cup will be held this year in Dubai – the first time it will be played outside India. India are three-time winners already, and Iran is its closest competitor – both teams have faced off in all three finals, the latest being in Ahmedabad back in 2016 when India squeaked through after being beaten in the group stages. So, no, the Pro-Kabaddi League won’t be the biggest Kabaddi tournament of the year. There is nothing bigger than a World Cup in which India is a dominant team.
The ISL 2019-20 is underway as we speak, with the group stages heating up and building to the grand final in March. ISL has now been recognized as the top-most football tournament in India, with their being the possibility of two I-League clubs gaining entry in the next season. The bigger the tournament is getting, the more global it’s getting – with promotion and relegation clauses expected to be added over the coming seasons. Currently, it’s between the three big clubs – ATK, Goa and Bengaluru – to win the title.
Men’s FIH Pro League 2020
From January to June this year, the second season of the Pro Hockey League, with 9 top international hockey teams – including India making its pro debut – will play home and away to each other and build up to a final in June. Australia is the defending champion after defeating Belgium in Amsterdam last season. This will be India’s biggest hockey tournament of the year.
Now that you’re all caught up with upcoming sports tournaments, don’t forget to check out some other exciting sports events in your area here.