The mercury decides to dip steadily as December announces it’s arrival with clear blue-spat skies and a tenderly warm sun casting its warmth all around. The winter season brings with it a lift in the spirits as the fields across the city teem with excited voices playing cricket or aspiring to be the next Ronaldo or Messi while skillfully tackling the ball with their feet. There are still others who flock to the neighborhood shop selling knick-knack’s to buy a racket to hit a few enviable shots like a Sindhu or a Nehwal; all in all, winter makes for the season which is always brimming with sporting action.
India has always been a nation living and breathing cricket. Despite all the tirades and hatred born due to supposed religious differences existing in our society, cricket acts like a binding religion gluing the entire nation together. With the excitement levels already escalating for the December leg of India v Australia which began at Adelaide, it’s important to remember that this excitement is here to stay the entire winter through January because there are so many tournaments lined up that one will be spoilt for choice!
Here is a list of sporting action that is bound to keep you occupied this December-January:
1. World Tour Finals (Guangzhou, China)
The BWF World Tour Finals are all set to begin from the 12th of December and conclude on the 16th of the same month. The ultimate clash of the year will have World Number 6 PV Sindhu try her luck to get hold of the title after finishing as the runner-up in the previous season. The other Indian to have qualified for the 4-day tournament is Sameer Verma who also hopes to do the country proud!
2. Premier Badminton League (India)
The explosively successful Premier Badminton League will be back in it’s 4th edition from the 22nd of December and will continue till the 13th of January! The gambit has expanded this year with nine star-studded teams participating in it. The league will be played out over five cities-Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Pune and Ahmedabad. Hosting top international players like Carolina Marin, Chris Adcock, the Indian battalion is also strong with PV Sindhu, Saina Nehwal, HS Prannoy, Kidambi Srikanth all set to lock horns!
3. Thailand Badminton Masters (Bangkok, Thailand)
Come the 8th of January, our Indian players will set foot abroad and head for the Thailand Badminton Masters to begin the 2019 season with! All the top players like Sindhu, Srikanth are slated to head there!
1. World Table Tennis Junior Championship (Bendigo, Australia)
The 2018 World Junior Table Tennis Championships have begun from the 2nd of December and will ensue till the 9th of December! India has sent in participants in the boys’ as well as the girls’ categories of the event. Promising players like Swastika Ghosh, Prapti Sen along with Jeet Chandra and Utpalbhai Shah are contending in the tournament!
1. National Squash Championship ( New Delhi, Noida)
From the 9th of December onward till the 16th of December, we’ll have squash action lined up on the cards with the National Squash Championships being played out in the capital city. The likes of Harinder Pal Singh Sandhu and Ravi Dixit will be seen in action!
#Khelo India Youth Games (Pune, India)
The second edition of the Khelo India Youth Games are going to be hosted by Pune in January. With the dates remaining to be confirmed yet, the excitement is already piling up after the wide success of the inaugural edition. This initiative of the government ensures the promotion of sports at a grass root level.
The Khelo India School Games are also a part of this initiative and will be held from 12th January to 24th January across schools. The various disciplines up for participation are Archery, Athletics, Badminton, Basketball, Boxing, Football, Gymnastics, Hockey, Judo, Kabaddi, Kho-Kho, Shooting, Swimming, Volleyball, Weightlifting, and Wrestling!
1. Australian Open (Melbourne, Australia)
The 2018 tennis season may be over but January is just around the corner and the first Grand Slam of the year opens its doors on 14th January with the finals slated to be held on the 27th of the same month. Things look incredibly exciting as we wait and watch if Roger Federer can pull a hat-trick Australian Open win in 2019 this time!
2. ATP Maharashtra Open (Pune, India)
Pune will get busy in 2019 right from the beginning of the year. The 24th edition of the Maharashtra Open is set to begin from 31st December and continue till the 5th of January. Things look exciting especially because the lanky South African Kevin Anderson and Croatia’s Marin Cilic is headed to participate in this tournament among other top-seeded players!
The Tata Mumbai Marathon will take place on 20th January 2019 and has the entire country excited for it! The entire distance of the marathon is 42.195 kilometers. It has categories like half-marathon, 10 km, dream run and even Senior Citizen’s Run and Champions with Disability run too!
Aside from these sports, there is also the ongoing Pro Kabaddi League which continues to power the adrenaline button as it nears its finale on January 5th in Mumbai! The football action is a constant with the Indian Super League already taking place since September. There is also I-League in the winter calendar too. In Boxing, there are the women’s Senior Nationals coming up! While you sit cheering for Team India against the Aussies from tomorrow, remember to cheer their campaign on in football, badminton, tennis, squash and table tennis, and so many other sports as they go in the hunt for glory!