The year 2017 was a very significant one in the world of sports for India and Indian fans across various sports. Now that 2018 is here, here is a list of things Indian fans can expect from various Sports this year.
The Indian football team made a huge jump after remaining unbeaten throughout the year and qualifying for the 2019 Asian Cup. India also climbed to their highest ranking in 20 years upto 96th while breaking into the top 100 for the first time in the new millennium. Although The Blue Tigers slipped later to 105 they are still very much in the mix for achieving greater feats.
The realistic expectation for the AIFF and Indian Football Team will be to break into the top 85 in 2018 and extend their unbeaten streak of 13. The Indian youth team will look to make use of all the opportunities by putting up a strong show at the Asian Games, trying to reach the quarter finals or beyond.
The Indian cricket team will be facing a daunting task in the new year with back to back away tours in South Africa and England. India have never won a series in South Africa and this will be the perfect chance to settle the old score. India will also look to avenge the last two test series losses in the last two England tours and win on the British Isles.
The Indian team will be looking to clinch the top rankings across all 3 formats. Fans can also hope to see their Men’s Cricket team battle out for Asian supremacy when the ACC Asia Cup returns to India in September.
The Indian Women’s team will set to look to improve their 4th rank in the ICC Women’s rankings in an attempt to get over their 2017 world cup final loss. One would also hope that the Indian U-19 team reclaims the U-19 World Cup when the colts battle the world in New Zealand from January 13.
2018 will be one of the most crucial years for Indian Hockey in recent times as 3 major tournaments are coming up for both men and women alike.
In April, both the teams will start their quest for Commonwealth gold, when they battle it out for the top Commonwealth nations of Australia, England, New Zealand, Republic of South Africa, Malaysia, Pakistan and more in Gold Coast Australia. While the men’s team will look to go one better from last year’s silver, the Indian women will be looking to reach the knock-outs for the first time since 2006.
The FIH Women’s World Cup will mark the return of the Indian Women on the big stage after an 8 year gap and fans will be hoping for a solid show from them when they go to war in London from mid July.
Later in August-September, the Indian men will look to defend their Asian Gold from Incheon 2014 in the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta Palembang. The Indian women will be looking to improve upon their Bronze medal from last time.
The Biggest event of the year will be however be back home in Bhubaneswar when the FIH Men’s World Cup 2018 commences in November. The Indian fans will be hoping to see Manpreet Singh lift the trophy after 33 long years.
Indian Tennis fans will have a lot to cheer for in 2018 as there will be plenty of action in the game. The evergreen Leander Paes will look to add to his 18 grand slam doubles and mixed doubles titles in 2018. Rohan Bopanna and Sania Mirza will also look to add to their respective tallies.
Indian Women will be fight to earn a place in the World Group Play-offs of the WTA Federation Cup in New Delhi from 7th to 10th February. Indian Men will be taking on the winner of China and New Zealand in the Asia-Oceania Group Play-offs of the ATP Davis Cup.
There will be chance for as many as 7 gold medals in the 2018 Asian Games and fans will hope the Indian contingent bags them all.
In the fastest racket sport of the world, the likes of Srikanth Kidambi, Saina Nehwal, PV Sindhu, H.S. Prannoy and more will be cheered on by the Indian fans in their quest to fight for 6 Commonwealth Games gold medals and 7 Asian Games gold medals. In addition to these the top players will fight it out in the Super Series(es) throughout the year.
India finished a disappointing 5th in Glasgow 2014, their lowest since Kuala Lumpur 1998, following a 2nd place finish in New Delhi 2010. The Indian contingent will be expected to finish within top 3 in Gold Coast, Australia when the games conclude in April.
The last time the Games were held at Jakarta in 1962, India finished 3rd in the medals tally. Although that will be a far fetched idea, Indian fans will surely hope to see the Indian athletes improve upon their 8th place finish last time around and finish within top 6 of the medals tally.
Photo by shinya