It’s been a spectacular year for English sport; here we look through some of the highs.
Lewis Hamilton won his sixth world title in November with a second-place finish at the United States Grand Prix. The title moves him up to second in the all-time list, leaving him just one behind Michael Schumacher. In what he has called, “his toughest season ever”, Hamilton only won two races out of seven before the United States race. The 35-year-old has now set his sights on a seventh world title and more with the suggestion that his skills have yet to peak. This was his third title in a row, and it is hard to see anyone stopping him next year.
The Premier League is still the ultimate football championship in the world, shrugging off Ligue 1, the Bundesliga and La Liga. Yes, players still clamber to play for Real Madrid and Barcelona, but with world-class managers like Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp in the Premier League it is, without doubt, the most competitive league around. This was shown by English teams winning not one European competition, but two, this year in Liverpool in the Champions League, and Chelsea in the Europa League.
England may have lost the Ashes, but they were unstoppable in the ICC world Cup. After a sluggish start, losing to Australia, Sri Lanka and Pakistan they then produced some of the most exciting cricket of the year to beat New Zealand on boundary count after the game was tied at 241 runs. It was England’s first time winning the competition and hopes were high going into the Ashes against Australia, and despite some edge of your seat cricket and tournament stealing performances from Ben Stokes, Australia ended up victorious.
For one match the England Rugby team, led by Owen Farrell, made us believe this was our year at the RugbyWorld Cup. After sailing through the group stages and into the knockout rounds, England impressed with a 40-16 win over Australia in the quarter-final and an even more impressive defeat of New Zealand 19-7 in the semi-final; giving us all flashbacks of Jonny Wilkinson, Martin Johnson, Lawrence Dallaglio et al. Unfortunately, the final was where it all fell apart (or picked apart) by a South Africa team who had steamrollered every team in their path, remaining undefeated throughout the tournament.
With such a blistering array of talent, here are our picks of some of the standout performers in their sports this year.
Raheem Sterling – Football
The standout English player in the Premier League over the past year. Once misunderstood, it’s not only his football prowess that stands him out from the rest but his work for local communities and his stance on racism in the game.
Ben Stokes – Cricket
Cricket all-rounder Stokes won the ‘Professional Cricketers’ Association player of the year award’ after helping England to their historic World Cup win, followed by his incredible unbeaten 135 in the Ashes.
Dina Asher-Smith – Athletics
Sprinter Asher-Smith won 200m gold and 100m silver at the IAAF world championships and helped the 4x1000m team to a silver place finish. Asher-Smith and fellow athlete Johnson-Thompson are the stars needed to pique interest in athletics in the build-up to the Olympics next year.
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