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  • A Guide to Indian Sport in 2016

    2016 looks to be one of the best for Indian sport. The country plays host to a variety of tournaments and will be participating in the greatest show on earth in the Summer Olympics.

    A Guide to Indian Sport in 2016

    India are to host the sixth ICC World Twenty20

    Indian sport has really come along leaps and bounds in the last few years.

    The template of the IPL has been replicated in other sports including football, hockey and kabaddi.

    Thus the country now boasts an exciting and varied annual roster of sporting events.

    India are also hosting the Twenty20 world cup and it is an Olympic/Paralympic year so 2016 should be an eventful year for Indian athletes.

    Here are some of the biggest sporting events India will look forward to in 2016:

    India become SAFF Champions (January)

    India-Sport-SAFF-Cup

    2015 was not a great year for Indian football at the international level.

    The team dropped to its lowest world ranking in history of 173rd and lost five out of their six 2018 world cup qualifying matches.

    This sadly eliminated any world cup hopes and piled the pressure on head coach Stephen Constantine.

    However, some of that pressure has been alleviated in the infancy of 2016 as India became SAFF Champions after coming back from a goal down to beat Afghanistan 2-1 in the final of the South Asian Football Federation Cup.

    This is the seventh time India have won the trophy.

    Hopefully this improvement in form will lead to more favourable results against Iran and Turkmenistan and a more respectable looking points tally in the qualifying table.

    Chennai Open (January)

    https://www.desiblitz.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/Indian-Sport-in-2016-Wawrinka-Chennai-Open.jpg

    India’s annual ATP Tennis tournament has already taken place this year.

    The top billed Stanislas Wawrinka was, as expected, triumphant and secured his third Chennai Open title in a row extending his Chennai winning streak to 12 matches and 24 sets.

    The World number four eased to a 6-3, 7-5 win over world number 44 Coric in one hour and 26 minutes.

    Wawrinka was barely tested throughout the tournament and when asked if he would be back next year he coyly stated: “You have to put more pressure on Tom [tournament director and vice president IMG Tennis].”

    India tour of Australia (12th – 31st January)

    https://www.desiblitz.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/Indian-Sport-in-2016-Indias-Australia-tour-20161.jpg

    India’s cricket team are to play five one day and 3 T20 matches on their tour down under.

    It’s a great opportunity for burgeoning Indian talent to make their case for the World T20 later this year.

    These include Barinder Sran, Gurkeerat Singh Mann and Manish Pandey to name a few.

    Despite currently being the top two ranked ODI teams, the two teams have endured patchy form.

    Australia have won four of their six post-World Cup ODIs and the Indians won six of their 11 games.

    2016 Hockey India League (21st January – 21st February)

    https://www.desiblitz.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/Indian-Sport-in-2016-Indian-Hockey-League.jpg

    The 2016 auction saw more than US$4 million (£2.6m) being spent on many of the world’s best hockey players.

    The highest bid went to Olympic gold medal winner and IHF World Player of the Year, Moritz Fürste of Germany for US$105,000 and domestically, Akashdeep Singh was the most expensive buy at US$84,000 (£54,087).

    Dabang Mumbai and the Uttar Pradesh Wizards were the two biggest spenders by a country mile whilst defending champions Ranchi Rays were more frugal this year investing the least amount of money.

    Whether splashing the cash will guarantee success in the tournament’s fourth year? Time will tell.

    Pro Kabaddi League Season 3 (30th January – March)

    India-Sport-Pro-Kabbadi

    Kabaddi is one of India’s most entertaining contact sports and Season 3 of the pro league will feature 8 teams and 132 players doing battle once more.

    20 Kabaddi players have already changed teams from Season 2 including last year’s Most Valuable Player of the Tournament, Manjit Chhillar with a move to Puneri Paltan from Bengaluru Bulls.

    Ajay Thakur, Rakesh Kumar, Deepak Hooda, Jasmer Singh, Surjeet Narwal, Dharmaraj Cheralathan, Wasim Sajjad, Rajaguru Subramanian have been some of the other big moves this season.

    2016 ICC World Twenty20 (8th March – 3rd April)

    https://www.desiblitz.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/Indian-Sport-in-2016-2016-ICC-World-Twenty20.jpg

    India are to host the sixth ICC World Twenty20 tournament this year.

    Bengaluru, Chennai, Dharamshala, Mohali, Mumbai, Nagpur and New Delhi will be the venues along with Kolkata, which will also host the final of the event.

    The ten automatically qualified full members will be joined by the six Associate Members that are comprised of Scotland, Ireland, the Netherlands, Afghanistan, Hong Kong and Oman.

    2016 Indian Premier League (8th – 21st May)

    India-Sport-IPL-New

    It’s hard to believe that this will be the ninth season of the IPL and two new teams will feature this year that will be representing the cities of Rajkot and Pune.

    They’ll be replacing the Chennai Super Kings and the Rajasthan Royals, who will be suspended for two years due to spot-fixing and betting during the 2013 season.

    These two franchises were allowed to draft a maximum of five players each from the Chennai and Rajasthan teams and these were the players drafted below:

    Pune – MS Dhoni, Ajinkya Rahane, Ravichandran Ashwin, Steve Smith, Faf du Plessis

    Rajkot – Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja, Brendon McCullum, James Faulkner, Dwayne Bravo

    India at the 2016 Summer Olympics (5th – 21st August)

    India-Sport-Olympics

    India will be looking to improve on their six medal effort at London in 2012 and have a realistic chance of surpassing that total at the greatest show on earth this summer.

    In Shooting, Apurvi Chandela recently set a new world record en route to a gold medal in the women’s 10 metre air rifle event at the Swedish Cup Grand Prix.

    On the male side of things, former Olympic champion Abhinav Bindra (10m air rifle), Gagan Narang (50m rifle prone) and Jitu Rai (50m pistol) are the best contenders for podiums.

    Saina Nehwal won bronze in London but after becoming the first Indian woman to attain the Badminton world number one ranking this year, you wouldn’t bet against her bettering her 2012 achievement.

    Parupalli Kashyap, Kidambi Srikanth and P.V Sindhu could surprise at the games.

    India will play host to a diverse range of tournaments and it could be the country’s best Olympic performance to date.

    The Indian women’s recurve archery team of Deepika Kumari, Laxmirani Majhi and Rimil Buriuly, won silver at the World Championships in Copenhagen.

    And having already secured Olympic qualification, they will surely be in medal contention in the summer.

    In Tennis, Sania Mirza partnered with Swiss icon Martina Hingis were a force to be reckoned with in 2016.

    They won two grand slams and ended the year with a 22 match winning streak and a world number 1 ranking; another potential gold medal.

    Lastly, India’s wrestlers could be successful once more. Sushil Kumar and Yogeshwar Dutt achieved a silver and a bronze in the 2012.

    And with the pair being 32 and 33 respectively this will most likely be their last Olympic Games.

    Indian Super League Season 3 (October – December)

    https://www.desiblitz.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/Indian-Sport-in-2016-Indian-Soccer-League.jpg

    Finally, the Indian Super League will return for its third instalment. In the last two seasons the league has featured some very recognisable names.

    These include Del Piero, David Trezeguet, Robert Pires, Freddie Ljungberg, Luis Garcia, David James, Elano, Roberto Carlos and Florent Malouda.

    It will be thrilling and alluring to see which stars the eight teams can attract this year.

    India will play host to a diverse range of tournaments and it could be the country’s best Olympic performance to date.

    2016 looks to be one of the most thrilling years of sport in Indian history.

    Amo is a history graduate with a fondness for nerd culture, sport, video games, YouTube, podcasts and mosh pits: "Knowing is not enough, we must APPLY. Willing is not enough, we must DO."

    Images courtesy of Rio 2016 Official Facebook, Indian Cricket Team Official Facebook, SAFF Suzuki Cup Official Facebook, Aircel Chennai Open Official Facebook, Hockey India League Official Facebook, Pro Kabaddi Official Facebook, IPL - Indian Premier League Official Facebook, Ron Gaunt and SPORTZPICS


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