Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Major sports events in 2010

January 10-31. African Cup of Nations soccer, Angola. Egypt are bidding to become the first country to secure a third successive title after again missing out on World Cup qualification.

Ivory Coast, with a potent strike force spearheaded by Didier Drogba, start as favourites for the biennial tournament which kicks off a momentous year for African soccer.
February 12-28. Winter Olympics, Vancouver. American Alpine ski racer Lindsey Vonn, overall women's World Cup winner for the past two seasons, is battling injuries before the Winter Games.

If fully fit, Vonn who has also won world titles in the downhill and super-G, could be the sensation of the slopes after failing to win a medal at the last two Winter Games.

March 13. Las Vegas. A row over doping allegations and drug-testing threatens to derail the eagerly-anticipated WBO welterweight boxing title bout between Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. Filipino Pacquiao has won seven titles in seven weight divisions while American Mayweather is unbeaten in 40 fights. The bout, if it does go ahead, is forecast to be among the most lucrative ever.

March 14. Bahrain Grand Prix. Michael Schumacher, emerging from retirement at the age of 41, attempts an unprecedented eighth Formula One title. The German, who won two titles with Benetton and five with Ferrari, will drive for the Mercedes team.

April 8-11. Masters golf, Augusta, Georgia. Will Tiger Woods compete at his happiest hunting ground after taking an indefinite sabbatical from golf following an admission of marital infidelity? Pebble Beach, hosts for the US Open in June, and St Andrews, where the British Open will be staged in July, are also favourite venues for Woods. But nobody outside Woods's inner circle can say with any certainty when, or even if, he will resume his quest to overtake Jack Nicklaus's record of 18 major titles.

April 30-May 16. Twenty20 World Cup cricket, West Indies. Pakistan, the team condemned to play all their fixtures abroad in the foreseeable future because of security fears at home, defend the title they won at Lord's last year.

May 14. Diamond League athletics meeting, Doha. The new 14-meeting Diamond League is launched with competitions in Asia, Europe and the United States. Thirty-two events will be staged with the top athletes in each discipline winning a four-carat diamond, worth approximately $80,000, at the end of the season.

June 11-July 11. World Cup, South Africa. The hosts open the first soccer World Cup to be staged in Africa against Mexico at Johannesburg's Soccer City. European champions Spain have the strongest squad while five-times winners Brazil demonstrated their liking for local conditions by winning the Confederations Cup for a record third time last year.

June 21-July 4. Wimbledon tennis championships. Roger Federer attempts a record-equalling seventh title on his favourite grass surface. The men's field has become increasingly competitive with the emergence of Juan Martin del Potro, who has joined Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray, Nikolay Davydenko and Novak Djokovic among the contenders for Federer's number one ranking.

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