The 2011 Sporting Events Calendar
Part of the glory of the game is the anticipation of the moment... The training, the preparation, the organising of the party so that when your mates arrive to watch the big game you have everything you need...
This calendar of some of 2011's best sporting events will help you start anticipating key games even earlier. So get out your diary and start programming your TV recorder: 'cause here's the highlights of the 2011 sporting year.
Australia is the place to be in January, as they're hosting the 2010/2011 Ashes Series and the Australian Open Tennis. If you could make it to all the Ashes Tests you'd also see most of Australia's major cities, but to get the most sport for your money you'll want to see the fourth test in Melbourne, which is also where they have they Open.
The MCG in Melbourne has great bounce and pace conditions for wickets and is the biggest venue with over 100 000 seats, you can usually trust the weather, but the heat does sometimes make it interesting tennis.If engines get you going more than balls then the Monte Carlo Rally will be the thing to get your 2011 sporting year going. It's one of the oldest and most prestigious events in the WRC calendar, with many legends born on the slippery, icy hairpins. A tricky mix of weather and road conditions which makes for an interesting spectacle and the race attracts enthusiasts and rally sport romantics in equal measure.
The Ashes - 25th November 2010 - 7th
Australian Open Tennis - 17th - 30th
Monte Carlo Rally - 19th - 21st
...And it's not long before the sporting year really hots up. The Six Nations Rugby starts on the 4th, Super Bowl Sunday 2011 is on the 6th of February, and the Carling Cup Final is on the 27th, so whatever sort of football you follow, Feb is a big month. 2011 isn't letting up for cricket fans either, the Cricket World Cup is being played in India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.
Super Bowl Sunday - 6th
Six National Rugby - 4th - 19th
Cricket World Cup - 19th – 2nd April
Carling Cup Final - 27th
March is a month for gentlemanly sports: Dubai hosts the world's richest horse race, with a purse of US$ 6 million going to the winner, and London's, only marginally tamer (and far cooler) Thames, hosts 'The Boat Race', that old score settler, the rowing race between Oxford and Cambridge.
One that might not make it to your terrestrial TV channel, but is worth trying to find coverage of is the Golden Shears Shearing Competition, New Zealand's premier show shearing event, where speed and skill at de-fleecing a sheep are all that matters.
Golden Shears Shearing Competition - 3rd - 5th
Dubai World Cup - 22nd - 28th
'The Boat Race', The Oxford vs. Cambridge boat race - 26th
The sport of kings is tearing up April's turf, and stopping punters around the world with the Grand National, but in North America they'll probably be more interested in the Ice Hockey World Championship, which is being held in Slovakia with games being played in Bratislava and Košice.
The slightly less violent, but no less exciting to fans, World Snooker Championship is also set to happen in April - this one's in Sheffield.
Grand National - 7th - 9th
World Snooker Championships - 16th - 2nd May
Ice Hockey World Championship - 29th - 5th May
North America hosts its own big horse race in May: the Kentucky Derby. Louisville doesn't really sleep on the first weekend in May, with bands playing and bars not shutting until six in the morning and the Derby party is a rite of passage for many locals - a quite unforgettable experience. If you want to see the race, book into Millionaires Row or Turn One, but for a party atmosphere you won't find at another race meet, Infield is your place.
Tennis fans get their second big dose of excitement in May with the French Open, Monaco, despite being one of the world's smallest countries, gets its second motor race, the Monaco Grand Prix, and Wembley Stadium gets the Champions League Final.
Kentucky Derby - 7th
French Open Tennis - 22nd - 5th June
Champions League Final - 28th
Monaco Grand Prix - 29th
June will be the pinnacle of the 2011 sporting year for many. Le Mans will test a sports fans' endurance, the archaic weather of Wimbledon will test their patience, and the FIFA Women's World Cup will test their ability to contain their excitement in lieu of the men's event. So the relatively civilised experience of the Henley Regatta at the end of the month will be a welcome opportunity to sit in a deckchair by the river.
Le Mans - 11th - 12th
Wimbledon - 20th - 3rd July
Henley Regatta - 29th - 3rd July
2011 FIFA Women's World Cup - 26th - 17th July
The Tour de France dominates the thoughts of many sports fans though July, with dramas and upsets possible from the early time trials to the mountain leg now that Lance Armstrong has hung up his Tour helmet. Dramas, more polite ones, are also possible on the Sandwich course where the 2011 British Golf Open will be held.
Tour de France - 2nd - 24th
Baseball All-Star Game on the 10th July
British Golf Open - 14th - 17th
In August sporting eyes will be turned, unusually, towards Daegu, South Korea, where the World Athletics Championships will be taking place - a good opportunity to see the talent on offer in the lead up to the 2012 Olympics.
FIBA Americas Championship - 27th - 8th September
US Open Tennis - 29th - 11th September
2011 World Championships in Athletics - 27th - 4th September
Monza, Italy: home of one of the greatest race tracks in racing history, and focus of the September sporting calendar for the Italian Grand Prix. A combination of speed and skill is needed to conquer this track, attributed with a heart and soul of its own, a race track that has seen some of the greatest races and the worst accidents of Formula One history. To add further magic to this event, a trip to Monza is a trip into the heartland of the prancing horse of Ferrari, something that the Italian crowds won’t let you forget as the famous red cars hurtle around the track that many call the ‘La Pista Magica’ or ‘The Magic Track’.
Italian Grand Prix - 11th
The Rugby World Cup technically starts in September, but it will be reaching fever pitch in October, when only the top teams will be left battling it out on varied New Zealand turf. The quarter finals kick off from the 8th, third place will be decided on the 21st and the final will be played on the 23rd in Eden Park, Auckland.
Rugby World Cup - 9th - 23rd
There's something about horse racing that can really bring a nation together... And that's what the Melbourne Cup does for Australia. It doesn’t matter if you don’t like horse racing, if you’re an avid animal rights activist or leader of a chapter of Gamblers Anonymous, if you’re in Australia at around 3pm on the first Tuesday in November, you’ll probably still find yourself in front of a telly.
Melbourne Cup - 1st
December hosts another warm up to the football World Cup – this time it's a clubs cup, the FIFA Club World Cup, so the winners of the 2010–11 UEFA Champions League play the winners of the 2011 Copa Libertadores, the 2011 AFC Champions League, the 2011 CAF Champions League and the 2010–11 OFC Champions League. Oh, and the winner of the 2011 J. League Division 1, which is the Japanese League where the Club Cup will be played. And if you fancy a bit of sun and sand in December, Abu Dhabi is hosting a 'Desert Games' in 2011, which has some sports you've seen before and some you may not have: desert marathon, sand golf, desert rugby and falconry...2011
FIFA Club World Cup - 8th - 18th
World Desert Games 2011 - 1st - 7th
If your favourite event hasn't made the list it might be in the Wild Card list below:
If not, then let us know what we're missing and we'll add it to the calendar.
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