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Sporting Champions of 2019

Sporting Champions of 2019

ALL SPORTS: As another 12 months of spectacular, engaging, controversial, nerve shredding sports action around the globe comes to an end we take a brief look at some of the highlights and the major winners from 2019.

FootballFormula-OneGolfMarathonPremier-LeagueRugbyTennisBoxingCricketCycling
By Ben Tirebuck

Tuesday 31 December 2019, 10:00AM


Tennis

Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer pushed the limits as they fought out the longest men's singles final at Wimbledon. Lasting a whopping 4 hours, 57 minutes it was also notable for including the first ever fifth-set tie-break in a Wimbledon final. It was Djokovic’s 16th Grand Slam title. Only Federer (20) and Rafael Nadal (19) have more.

Bianca Andreescu caused a stir in the women’s game by defeating Serena Williams in the US Open final to become Canada's first Grand Slam singles champion.

"Congratulations @Bandreescu_! You've made history and made a whole country very proud. #SheTheNorth" was Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s congratulatory tweet.

Rubgy Union

It was a triumphant year for Rugby as the World Cup in Japan proved a phenomenal success. South Africa emerged eventual champions after beating England in the final, but it was celebrated as much for the manner in which the host country took to the sport and welcomed its many visitors with typical Japanese grace. See the Rugby World Cup review here.

Formula One

Lewis Hamilton clinched his sixth Formula One driver's title, ending the season with 11 victories from 21 races. Ferrari fought hard with starlet Charles Leclerc showing great promise in collecting four straight pole positions and suggesting he is very much the one to watch next season. However Hamilton remains the sport’s main man and is now just one world title behind the all-time mark of Michael Schumacher.

"Not bad for a boy from a Stevenage council house," said a proud Anthony Hamilton after son Lewis’ sixth world championship triumph.

Football

As attention on the women’s game continues to increase globally, all eyes were on June’s World Cup in France. It was a hugely successful occasion that saw the USA run out as winners. Their star player was Megan Rapinoe who captained her team to victory and finished as the tournament's joint top scorer.

Off the field, Rapinoe feverishly maintained her advocacy for LGBT rights and gender equality, sparking the ire of US President Donald Trump.

Liverpool were the big winners in the men’s game as Jurgen Klopp guided his troops to Champions League victory against Tottenham in Madrid, securing Europe's top club competition for the sixth time.

"This is only the start," stated Klopp after the final win over Spurs.

The most memorable moment, however, came at home at Anfield in the semi-final when the Reds, trailing 3-0 from the first leg deficit, beat mighty Barcelona 4-0. The Kop roared and their team responded on a truly magical evening.

Golf

2019 was very much the year of redemption for Tiger Woods. After falling from grace in recent years Tiger proved he still had his claws as he tore through the field on the final round at the Masters in April to win his first major in 11 years, his 15th major and fifth Masters overall.

He then followed this up by player captaining the US team to victory against Ernie Els’ internationals in last month’s President’s Cup in Melbourne, inspiring an amazing final day turnaround.

"It's been amazing, I couldn't have asked for a better year" said Woods. "I'm speechless.”

Cricket

The age old rivalry between England and Australia played out in fascinating fashion during both the World Cup and Ashes in 2019.

Returning from a ban, Ben Stokes was the World Cup hero for hosts England, scoring runs, taking wickets and catches throughout. In the final against New Zealand, he made 84 not out to tie the game and initiate the rarely witnessed Super Over which England ultimately won. Stokes was man of the match.

"Almost superhuman," was how England captain Eoin Morgan described Stokes in the final.

In the Ashes, Stokes clobbered an unbeaten 135, to claw England back from the brink in the third Test at Headingley although this series belonged to former Australian captain Steve Smith.

Also returning from a ban, and despite missing the third test, Smith utterly dominated proceedings, finishing the series with 774 runs in four Tests at an average of 110.57, which was 333 more than the next highest scorer, Stokes. His imperious form ensured Australia drew the series and retained the Ashes.

Boxing

There was a shock of seismic proportions in June when last minute replacement fighter Andy Ruiz Jr. recorded a seventh round TKO against Anthony Joshua to become the first Mexican-American heavyweight champion.

The Dec 7 rematch was controversially held in Saudi Arabia and saw Joshua regain his crown in a dour affair.

Ruiz claimed he failed to train properly which explained his loss. "Three months of partying and celebrating affected me," said Ruiz, claiming his loss was down to the fact he did not train properly.

“Man, the first time was so nice, I had to do it twice!” goaded Joshua after his victory.

Cycling

Colombian Egan Bernal became the first Latin American to win the Tour de France. However, he painted a rather mundane picture when asked about the routine required to pedal to victory.

"It's team, team, team, get up, see the doctor, have breakfast, ride the race, get a massage, physio and sleep. Then repeat," he commented.

Athletics

Kenya's Eliud Kipchoge made history in Vienna after smashing the mythical two-hour marathon barrier. "The message that no human is limited is now in everybody's mind," he said after his triumph.

American Football

Quarterback Tom Brady wrote his name into the record books by winning his fifth Super Bowl after leading the New England Patriots against the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl 53 in Atlanta.

"How could this not motivate you? It's what it's all about,” was Brady’s response when quizzed how he continues to impress.

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