Sports

Year-Ender 2023: Top Moments From Sports World

A new tennis superstar announced himself to the world while the one whose reputation grows with each race in Formula 1 established himself as the man to beat. All this and much more as we traverse back in time through the past 12 months and pick the best moments in sports through this Year-Ender

Novak Djokovic (L) shakes hands with Carlos Alcaraz after Madrid Open 2022 semifinal.
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As 2023 races toward the finish line, we reminisce the year that has been. From the Australian Open thrill in early January to the ICC ODI Cricket World Cup in later November, there was action aplenty; new heroes rose to the fore, while some of the old ones proved not to dimiss them as has-beens just yet. (Cricket News | Football News)

From Carlos Alcaraz's blistering gritty display at the Wimbledon to Max Verstappen's dominant performances over the F1 calendar year, 2023 gave sporting fans plenty to cheer about. There was drama at the ICC ODI World Cup as Australia strengthened their hold onto the eternal crown and more at the NBA Finals as Denver Nuggests collected their first ring courtesy of the brilliant Nikola Jokic. All this and more as we look back at some of the best sporting moments from the world in the bygone 12-month period. 

Arise, Alcaraz 

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Carlos Alcaraz kisses the Wimbledon trophy X/ Carlos Alcaraz

As an era came to an end, another began. Tennis was still reeling from the loss of Roger Federer and the knowledge that Rafael Nadal would soon be following his eternal rival and friend into the sunset, when Carlos Alcaraz snapped it from its miserable trance. Youthful, vivacious, and every bit as gritty as young 'Rafa' himself, Alcaraz chased, hit, smashed, and volleyed every ball he could get his racket to all year round, ending it locked in a battle for the top spot on the charts with the behemoth that is Novak Djokovic. 

While Djokovic finished the year as number one, Alcaraz provided a glimpse of the future along the way. When the pair battle each other at the Wimbledon Final, the youngster came out on top, beating the old pro in five sets. As the arena rose to its feet to acknowledge the Spaniard's effort, a profound realisation settled in: Tennis would never be the same in the absence of Roger and Rafa, but it would always be safe in the hands of those who come next. 

Max Mastery 

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Max Verstappen celebrates with his trophy on the podium at the Belgian GP AP

Three seasons earlier, as Max Verstappen raced past Lewis Hamilton on the final corner of the final race of the season, it marked a changing of the guard. The British superstar had altered the sport forever, for which, he will be held in eternal regard. Now, however, there was to be a new sheriff in town. 

And that is pricesly what happened. No one rose to Verstappen's level in 2022 as the Dutchman raced clear of his competition to a second consecutive title. His victory in 2023, though, was even more impressive; not only did he collect his third successive championship trophy, he did so by winning 19 of the 22 races on offer! By doing so, the youngster created a new record for most wins in a season and helped his team, Red Bull Racing, to yet another Contructors' Championship. 

Amazing Australia 

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Australias captain Pat Cummins poses for a photograph with the trophy after Australia won the ICC Mens Cricket World Cup final match against India in Ahmedabad. Photo: AP/Rafiq Maqbool

India were unbeaten heading into the ICC ODI Cricket World Cup 2023 Final. Hosting the tournament for the second time in 12 years, the Men in Blue had romped their way into the trophy bout, destroying any who stood in their path with an effortless ease. Then, they met Australia

Five times the champions hitherto, Australia proved their championship credential by silencing a 130,000-capacity Narendra Modi Stadium and beating India comfortably in the end. Incosistent at the start of the tournament, the Aussies finished on a high, winning nine matches on the bounce, the last of which witnessed Travis Head race to a century, joining an elite list of individuals to have done so in an ODI World Cup final. 

Sensational Spain 

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Spain Women's Football Team players celebrate winning the FIFA Women's World Cup 2023 X

The talk after the FIFA Women's World Cup 2023 revolved around the incident that had transpired between Luis Rubiales and Jenni Hermoso. Rubiales, President of Spanish Football, in an act of audacious stupidity, chose to celebrate his nation's World Cup win by forcefully kissing Hermoso in front of the whole world and would later had to pay for his actions with a ban from footballing activities. 

As attention drifted from the past 90 minutes to the few after, much of what Spain had accomplished was quickly overlooked. However, their efforts were not to go down in vain. Led by captain Olga Carmona's goal before the half-hour mark, Spain, a team wrecked by internal rifts caused by their head coach Jorge Vilda's past behaviour, beat favourites England to win their maiden World Cup. La Roja played brilliant football on the night, creating opportunities of their own while keeping the impressive England in check, and were duly rewarded for it! 

Nuggets Nonpareil

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Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic (L) is defended by Miami Heat forward Jimmy Butler (R). AP

A city can so often go decades without witnessing a win that would reverbrate through its very core. Denver, host of their own NBA franchise, the Denver Nuggets, since 1967, had witnessed championships move from town to town, never stopping for a moments rest in a place that had craved it for so long. That, though, changed in 2023, when, led by Nikola Jokic, the Nuggets beat Miami Heat in the Finals to secure their first-ever title. 

Nuggets finished the top in the Western Conference and brushed past the Minnesota Timberwolves in the First Round of Playoffs. They, then, beat Phoenix Suns in the Conference Semi-finals before knocking out Lebron James' LA Lakers in the Conference Finals. A bout with heat in the NBA Finals lasted just five games, with the Denver outfit winning 4-1. 

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