Sport

The Biggest Sports Events of Mid-2021

Which sporting events should you have your eye on?

There are some huge sports events taking place in the middle of 2021 around the world. South Africa even hosts some of the action, so check out these four galas of sport that you won’t want to miss.

Euro 2020

Belatedly, the Euro 2020 finals kick-off on 11 June as a pan European tournament taking in 11 host cities and countries. From Baku to Seville and St Petersburg to Istanbul, this edition really does cover the length and breadth of the continent.

With so many unofficial home games and Wembley hosting the final on 11 July, England are the favourites to win the Euros just ahead of World Cup holders France and Belgium, the number one ranked side on the planet. Germany, Spain and reigning European champions Portugal all have obvious chances too.

Royal Ascot

Europe’s premier Flat horse racing festival, Royal Ascot, brings five consecutive days of top equine thoroughbred action starting on Tuesday, 15 June. Racehorses from the UK, Ireland, and France, plus the odd American runner, are expected to descend on the track outside London in one of the Home Counties, Berkshire.

High-profile British and Irish trainers John Gosden and Aidan O’Brien have several favourites in the ante-post Royal Ascot horse racing betting this year. The stables could be represented at the meeting by star miler Palace Pier, champion stayer Stradivarius, promising three-year-old St Mark’s Basilica and wonder-mare Love.

British and Irish Lions Tour of South Africa

On 3 July, the British and Irish Lions arrive in the Rainbow Nation for their five-match and three-Test Tour. The Springboks are the reigning world champions of rugby union but haven’t played a game since lifting the Webb Ellis Cup in Japan in November 2019.

Recent changes to the Tour schedule mean the Lions will play games in Johannesburg, Pretoria, and Cape Town. Warm-up matches against four South African club sides and a Springboks A team take place during the first two weeks. The Test series then follows on consecutive Saturdays.

Lions head coach Warren Gatland, taking charge of his third Tour, has already named his squad. It will be fascinating to see how the best of British and Irish players get on in South Africa, with the visitors expected to win the series.

Tokyo Olympics

Like the Euros, the Olympic Games in Tokyo have been delayed by a year. However, starting on 23 July, Japan becomes the centre of the sporting universe. The Land of the Rising Sun will host 33 different sports competitions during the Olympics.

From traditional events like track and field athletics to new disciplines like climbing and skateboarding, the Tokyo Games continue a trend of an evolving programme from one Olympiad to the next. Major sports like basketball, football, golf, and tennis all have Olympic competitions.

So much is packed into the Games before the closing ceremony on 8 August. Over 11,000 athletes are expected to compete in 339 different events across 50 different disciplines confirming the Olympics as the ultimate sporting gala.

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