SPORTING PREVIEW 2021
By Steve Wade
Well, just when you thought it was safe to think about things getting back to normal, they get worse. No sooner were the fans let back into some sporting events in the UK and Europe than they were immediately banned again because of a huge flare up in the Pandemic figures across the various countries. We can only hope that a rolling out of a vaccine and the loosening of the grip of this awful virus will enable us to enjoy watching sports in 2021 again alongside a live audience. Let’s take a look at some of the highlights for next year that are scheduled to go ahead.
Both the European and American tours get back to full strength next year and we have the unusual circumstances of the last major of 2020, the Masters, being the first one that kicks off the four majors in 2021.
The Masters tees off in April, the US PGA in May, the US Open in June and the British Open in July. This is followed by the Olympics at the end of July which a lot of players like to compete in and win. Then we have the Ryder Cup. Being played at Whistling Straits in late September, this promises to be an explosive competition and will make compulsive viewing for all golf fans.
Most of the other big events on both tours that may have been cancelled in 2020 are scheduled to be played so there will be plenty of top quality action to look forward to. Let’s hope that, along with all other sports next year, the crowds will be allowed back in to watch live.
Beside all of the usual tournaments that will go ahead in 2021 we have the European Championships being played (hopefully!). Scheduled to take part in thirteen different venues as far apart as Dublin and Baku in Azerbaijan.This will be a logistical nightmare and depending on the circumstances closer to the time the tournament is not out of the woods as far as a further cancellation is concerned.
The whole of Europe is suffering more than most from the current pandemic and the amount of people travelling, even without the fans, will be a headache for the organisers. The tournament is due to take place between the 11th of June and the 11th of July so let’s hope the situation has improved by then and football fans can watch some of the best players in the world in action.
Re-scheduled from 2020 and now going ahead between the 23rd of July and the 8th of August 2021, this will be another huge organizational task. At least all of the competitors, coaches, staff and officials are travelling to the same place.
The Olympics is a great sporting event and with the addition of the golf and football medals has a big following worldwide. Even non athletics fans enjoy the spectacle of the track and field finals. New competitions for these games include Surfing, Softball, 3×3 Basketball and Skateboarding. It’s difficult to know what is being classified as a sport these days with breakdancing being put forward to be added in 2023! Look out for synchronized country dancing and Origami with boxing gloves on next.
The powers that be at Formula 1 have announced a provisional 23 race schedule for 2021. Starting in Melbourne on the 21st of March and going right through the year finishing in Dubai on the 5th of December. Motor racing is hugely popular amongst the Expats in Pattaya and beyond so let’s hope that they get a full season to enjoy.
Of course the year will be peppered with our usual favourite sporting events. The UEFA Champions League and domestic football competitions from around the world, the popular Aussie rules football and Rugby League and many other sports, including the interesting addition of the women’s Rugby World cup, being played in New Zealand from the 18th of September until the 16th of October. Now a major event, this should be excellent viewing for all rugby fans.
Whatever sport you follow, let’s hope that competitors and fans alike stay safe and things improve over the year for everyone concerned.
Good luck and a happy new year to all the readers of Discover Pattaya.