After a gloomy year that put the world to a standstill with sporting events getting postponed or cancelled due to the coronavirus, 2021 has a lot to offer for sports lovers with the Tokyo Olympics topping the list.
2020 took a huge toll on sports activities across the world, be it domestic competition or international events. For the first time since World War II, Wimbledon and Olympics got affected due to the pandemic.
The Grand Slam got cancelled while the quadrennial event was shifted to 2021. Apart from the Olympics and Wimbledon, many other competitions were also postponed including the ICC Men's T20 World Cup in Australia, which will now be played in 2021 in India. The 2020 edition will now be held in Australia in 2022.
The outbreak of the virus in many parts of the world forced countries to impose lockdown and as a result, the month of March saw minimal sporting action before it all came to a standstill.
Sports returned with a new normal which included face-masks, hand-sanitizers and no crowd in the stadiums and above all -- a bio-secure bubble. Players and support staff were restricted to their hotels with no one allowed to leave or enter the hotel. Regular Covid-19 tests also became part of athletes' schedule.
With all the precautions and safety measures, German top-flight, Bundesliga, became the first European football league to resume on May 16.
A month later, Premier League returned to action after a three-month halt to complete its 2019-20 season which saw Liverpool winning the title for the first time in 30 years.
In July, Formula One started its 2020 season with a truncated calendar commenced with the Austrian Grand Prix and completed with the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on December 13. Lewis Hamilton won the World Championship seventh time and equalled Michael Schumacher's record at the Turkish Grand Prix.
The Test series between England and West Indies marked the return of international cricket. Windies arrived in the United Kingdom to play a three-match series in which the hosts won 2-1. England then hosted Ireland, Pakistan, and Australia. The much-awaited 13th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) also took place from September 19 to November 10 and Mumbai Indians clinched the title for a record fifth time after beating Delhi Capitals in the final at the Dubai International Stadium.
The Indian cricket team returned to action after an eight-month hiatus in an ODI against Australia at the Sydney Cricket Ground. India lost the series by 2-1 but came back strongly to claim the T20I series 2-1 before heading to the longest format encounter.
Cricketing action will return to India in February when Virat Kohli and boys host England for five Tests and a limited-overs series.
2020, a year of uncertainty and unprecedented times, taught us about how it is all about adaptation and with talks of the vaccine against the dreaded COVID-19 finally ready, 2021 will surely deliver the expected results to the fans. But the 'new normal' is here to stay as the virus is still in action.