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7-min read

Year Ender 2016: Major Landmarks in Sports

The one thing that enthralls sports fans around the globe is a fairytale ending and the 2016 season has been full of it. There were multiple highs and lows for sportspersons around the globe, but few achievements lit up the world of sports.

Pratik Sagar | News18.com

Updated:December 21, 2016, 4:49 PM IST
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Leicester City celebrate their success with the victory parade. (Getty Images)
Leicester City celebrate their success with the victory parade. (Getty Images)

The one thing that enthralls sports fans around the globe is a fairytale ending and the 2016 season has been full of it. There were multiple highs and lows for sportspersons around the globe, but few achievements lit up the world of sports.

India

There were so many firsts for India in multiple sports that truly made it an unforgettable year for the sports enthusiasts. From Badminton to Football to Tennis, almost every competition had at least one star that shone the brightest because of their supreme performances.

PV Sindhu – Badminton

PV Sindhu with China Open Super Series 2016 Title. (Getty Images) PV Sindhu with China Open Super Series 2016 Title. (Getty Images)

India’s latest badminton queen PV Sindhu romped home to her maiden Chinese Open title this year, highlighting the fact that the 2016 Rio Olympics Silver Medal was no fluke.

Sindhu also reached the final of Hong Kong Open Super Series, but failed at the last hurdle against Tai Tzu. Sindhu beat her nemesis Carolina Marin in the year ending BWF Super Series finals, but couldn’t go beyond the semi-finals.

Leander Paes – Tennis

Martina Hingis and Leander Paes lift the French Open (Photo Credit: Getty Images) Martina Hingis and Leander Paes lift the French Open (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Indian tennis legend Leander Paes completed his mixed doubles career slam earlier this year. The blockbuster partnership of Paes and Martina Hingis finally clinched the French Open 2016 title – the one trophy that was missing from Paes’ already illustrious cabinet.

Aditi Ashok – Golf

Aditi Ashok with Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies Open Trophy. (Getty Images) Aditi Ashok with Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies Open Trophy. (Getty Images)

Young sensation Aditi Ashok may be just 18 years old, but in 2016 she set new landmarks on the greens. After her heroics at the Rio Olympics, Aditi clinched the 2016 Hero Women’s Indian Open title to become the first Indian to win a Ladies European Tour Title.

She has also gained an LPGA Tour card for 2017 and was awarded with the title — Rookie of the Year.

Men’s Kabaddi Team

Indian kabbadi team with the Kabaddi World Cup 2016 trophy. (Getty Images) Indian kabbadi team with the Kabaddi World Cup 2016 trophy. (Getty Images)

India dominates Kabaddi unlike any other sport in the world and the same trend continued this year too. Led by inspirational captain and raider Anup Kumar, India clinched their third World Cup title in as many editions in the history of the sport.

Men’s and Women’s Hockey Team

Indian team posing with its Champions Trophy silver medal. (Getty Images) Indian team posing with its Champions Trophy silver medal. (Getty Images)

Both the India men’s and women’s hockey team convinced the world of their supremacy in Asia after clinching their respective Asia Cup titles in 2016.

While the men’s team edged past arch-rivals Pakistan in the final to win their second title, the women’s team did the same by defeating China in the championship match.

The men's hockey team also created history by winning their first silver medal in the Champions Trophy, going down on penalties in the final to Australia.

Men’s Junior Hockey Team

The Indian junior men's hockey team members rejoice after beating Belgium 2-1 in the final of Junior Hockey World Cup (Courtesy: Hockey India) The Indian junior men's hockey team members rejoice after beating Belgium 2-1 in the final of Junior Hockey World Cup (Courtesy: Hockey India)

Similar to the senior side, the Indian junior hockey team did the country proud by clinching the Junior World Cup held in Lucknow. The colts tasted title success in the World Cup after a gap of 15 years and by the looks of it, the future of Indian hockey is in safe hands.

Bengaluru FC - Football

Bengaluru FC at AFC Cup Final. (Getty Images) Bengaluru FC at AFC Cup Final. (Getty Images)

Indian football’s shining bright light, Bengaluru FC, achieved a rare first in Indian football history that not even the likes of Mohun Bagan, East Bengal and Dempo could manage in the past.

The Sunil Chhetri-led side stormed into the final of the AFC Cup 2016, giving another reason for the football fanatics to cheer. Although they lost in the final to Iraq’s Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya, their ability to punch above their weight won them multiple hearts here in India.

Atletico de Kolkata – Football

Atletico De Kolkata won their second ISL title. (Image credit: ISL) Atletico De Kolkata won their second ISL title. (Image credit: ISL)

History repeated itself in the Indian Super League as Atletico de Kolkata edged out Kerala Blasters for their second title in three season.

It was heartbreak for Kerala once again as they were on the wrong side of the result in the final, similar to their fate in 2014.

Vijender Singh – Pro Boxing

India's Vijender Singh after winning his maiden title as a professional boxer.(AFP) India's Vijender Singh after winning his maiden title as a professional boxer.(AFP)

2008 Olympics Bronze medallist Vijender Singh punched his way to new millstones in the pro boxing ring, but none bigger than winning his maiden title belt.

Vijender beat Australian boxer Kerry Hope to clinch the WBO Asia Pacific Super Middleweight title in New Delhi. He then defended his crown against Tanzania’s Francis Cheka.

World

Leicester City – Football

Leicester City players pose with the Premier league trophy after winning the league. (Photo Credit: Getty Images) Leicester City players pose with the Premier league trophy after winning the league. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

The foxes won their maiden EPL title ahead of the likes of the two Manchester Giants, Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool and Spurs. And the odds were set for Leicester to go on to clinch the Premier League title at 1/100 – this tells the fairytale story of Claudio Ranieri and his troops.

Cristiano Ronaldo - Football

Cristiano Ronaldo lifts the Euro 2016 title with Portugal. (Image Credit: Getty Images) Cristiano Ronaldo lifts the Euro 2016 title with Portugal. (Image Credit: Getty Images)

It was arguably the most memorable year in the career of one of the best players in the history of the game – Cristiano Ronaldo.

CR7 first guided Real Madrid to their 11th Champions League title and then buried the demons of 2004 to lift the Euro 2016 title with Portugal.

For his scintillating trophy-laden season with both club and country, Ronaldo was also named the winner of Ballon D’or 2016 – his fourth best player in the world award.

Andy Murray – Tennis

Great Britain's Andy Murray celebrates winning the final against Serbia's Novak Djokovic with the ATP World Tour Finals trophy. (Photo Courtesy: Reuters) Great Britain's Andy Murray celebrates winning the final against Serbia's Novak Djokovic with the ATP World Tour Finals trophy. (Photo Courtesy: Reuters)

There was a time when Andy Murray was referred to as ‘always the bridesmaid but never the groom’, but the Brit changed that perception in spectacular style in 2016.

Andy Murray won the Olympics Gold, Wimbledon and ATP World Tour finals apart from multiple other tour titles this year, to snatch away the world number one tag from Novak Djokovic.

Serena Williams - Tennis

Serena Williams after she won her seventh Wimbledon title. (Getty Images) Serena Williams after she won her seventh Wimbledon title. (Getty Images)

Serena Williams cemented her legendary status as one of the best women to have played the game when she won her 7th Wimbledon title, and after a long wait, equalled Steffi Graf's open era record of 22 Grand Slam titles.

Argentina – Tennis

Argentina's Davis Cup winning team (Photo Courtesy: Reuters) Argentina's Davis Cup winning team (Photo Courtesy: Reuters)

It was finally fifth time lucky for Argentina in Davis Cup after tasting four final defeats in 1981, 2006, 2008 and 2011. And it was not just about their maiden title win, but the fashion in which they scripted history was equally incredible.

Croatia was up 2-1 in the final, but Juan Martin Del Potro and Federico Delbonis staged a remarkable turnaround to send the travelling supporters — including 1986 World Cup Winner Diego Maradona — in a frenzy.

Nico Rosberg – Formula One

Nico Rosberg won the 2016 Formula 1 Drivers' Championship. (Getty Images) Nico Rosberg won the 2016 Formula 1 Drivers' Championship. (Getty Images)

After 10 years of playing second fiddle to fellow superstars, German formula one driver Nico Rosberg’s moment finally arrived this year. Rosberg pipped Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton to the F1 title in a fight that went on right to the wire.

After lifting the Holy Grail of his sport, Rosberg announced his untimely retirement to end his stint on the circuit as the champion.

Four first time Major winners – Golf

Danny Willett of England celebrates his victory after the final round of the 2016 Masters Tournament . (Getty Images) Danny Willett of England celebrates his victory after the final round of the 2016 Masters Tournament . (Getty Images)

The year 2016 will be remembered on the golf greens in the years to come for the rarest of rare feats. Danny Willet (US Masters), Dustin Johnson (US Open), Henrik Stenson (British Open) and Jimmy Walker’s (PGA C’ship) victories meant it’s just the fifth time in history that the year’s four Majors were won by first timers.

Ryder Cup –Golf

The US team that won the 2016 Ryder Cup. (Getty Images) The US team that won the 2016 Ryder Cup. (Getty Images)

The US team thrashed the Europeans to clinch the Ryder Cup for the first time since 2008. The scoreline read 17-11 — the biggest margin of win since 1981.

Magnus Carlsen – Chess

Magnus Carlsen defended his World Chess title defeating Russia's Sergey Karjakin (Getty Images) Magnus Carlsen defended his World Chess title defeating Russia's Sergey Karjakin (Getty Images)

It was great year for Norwegian grandmaster Magnus Carlsen who staged a remarkable comeback to beat Sergey Karjakin and retain his World Chess Championship title.

Carlsen holds the record for being the youngest champion and his third title in row only cements his place as one of the best players ever to grace the game of chess.

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| Edited by: Pratik Sagar
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