In Part 2 of 2016 in Sport, we explore the big sporting highlights as we entered the Spring months. As Easter approached, another busy sporting month ensued.
As Easter approached, another busy sporting month ensued.
England were heartbroken by the West Indies in the final of the ICC Twenty20 World Championship, as the Windies claimed their second crown, and every player gaining an equal share of a staggering $1.6million each.
The 25th Acrobatic Gymnastics World Championship took place in China, with places in the Olympic teams in Rio at stake. Team GB were not as successful as they were in the cycling heats, Russia on the other hand swept five gold medals in all five events they competed in.
Britain’s new boxing hero Anthony Joshua began his ongoing rise to stardom with an impressive 2 round stoppage of Charles Martin to claim the IBF heavyweight title in only his 16th professional fight. AJ floored his American opponent with a peach of a right-hand counter and after Martin was knocked down again, the referee called a halt.
Meanwhile, Manny Pacquiao won his rubber match against Timothy Bradley, his first bout since his Best in the World loss to Floyd Mayweather. According to Pacquiao this was to be his last fight as a professional.
In the US, the MLB (Major League Baseball) season began, and Danny Willett won the 80th Masters Golf tournament in Augusta.
Rule The World, jockeyed by David Mullins, won the traditional Grand National horse race, Nico Rosberg continued his winning form at the Chinese F1 Grand Prix, the 2016 World Snooker Championship began and Kenya’s Eliud Kipchoge won the London Marathon.
While the month of April saw so many sporting highlights, May saw one the biggest shocks in recent memory.
If you didn’t know about this already then quite frankly I don’t know where you have been! Hang your head in shame!
It was of course Leicester City, who defied logic, money, power and the entire world of football to win the Premier League for the first time in their history. They were only the sixth team in the leagues history to win it, and were undoubtedly the feel good story of the year.
Also in football, Manchester United won the FA Cup beating Crystal Palace in extra time, but still let Louis Van Gaal go, with the Special One Jose Mourinho firmly in the horizon to take over.
And Real Madrid needed a tense penalty shootout to put away rivals Atletico Madrid in the Champions League final to secure their 11th European title in Milan. Sevilla won the Europa League for the third time in a row, beating Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool in Switzerland.
Elsewhere, Max Verstappen won his first ever Grand Prix in Spain, and Great Britain were the top medal winner in the 2016 European Aquatics Championship, although it was Hungary who scooped the most gold medals.
Native Vincenzo Nibali won the Giro d’Italia in his home country, and Amir Khan was left heartbroken after being knocked out in the sixth round of his bout with Saul Alvarez.
Andy Murray won the Italian Open (Rome Masters) on his birthday as he warmed up for the second tennis Grand Slam of the year, the French Open, which began later in the month.
And Murray would again be faced by his demon with another demoralising final defeat at the hands of the irresistible Serb Novak Djokovic at the start of June. From here however, Murray would spark a resurgence that would see him rise to the top of the tennis world.
Because later in the month, the tennis world congregated into London for the beginning of Wimbledon, and Murray was determined to come out on top.
There was some controversy in tennis however, where Russian Maria Sharapova was banned for 2 years after testing positive for meldonium at January’s Australian Open.
June also saw the beginning of a manic sporting summer, as the Euros began, with England fans dreaming of a successful tournament in France under Roy Hodgson. They made it out of the group (just) with a dramatic win over Wales but disappointed with draws against Russia and Slovakia.
Their tournament and summer then dramatically capitulated with a shocking 2-1 defeat at the hands of the tournaments sweethearts Iceland, despite taking an early lead through Wayne Rooney’s penalty. Wales on the other hand marched on impressively into the semi-finals.
Meanwhile, Dustin Johnson finally won the US Open, having tied for second the year beforehand. The win also saw him break into the top 5 of the Official World Golf Rankings.
And Anthony Joshua’s boxing dominance continued as he punished the tough Dominic Breazeale to retain his IBF heavyweight title. It was his first title defence, and the ref waved the match off in the seventh round at the O2 Arena following two knockdowns.