From scorching tennis courts in a summer Down Under, to the ice and snow of Pyeongchang, the surf and sand of Australia’s Gold Coast and the humid, hectic heart of Jakarta, a rich diversity of Asia’s venues have been showcased for a global sporting audience in 2018.
Roger Federer started the year by winning an unprecedented 20th Grand Slam singles tennis title at the Australian Open in Melbourne, where Caroline Wozniacki won her first major title in what really was a great day for the Dane.
International sporting attention quickly shifted to Winter Olympics, where a shirtless Tongan cross-country skier stole the show at the opening ceremonies. But it was a thawing of tension between the Koreas, highlighted by an historic joint team in the women’s ice hockey, that largely took some focus off the high-profile figure skating and Alpine skiing in the games that were hosted by South Korea.
The Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games were the two major, multi-sports showpieces of the year and were held on either side of the soccer World Cup in Russia.
Athletes from as far afield as Antigua and Zambia competed in April on the Gold Coast at the Commonwealth Games, featuring a collection of countries and territories that comprised the old British Empire. The Aussies regained top spot on the medals table from England, and India moved into third.
Jakarta and Palembang, Indonesia co-hosted the Asian Games, the regional Olympic-style event that gathers 10,000 athletes from across the continent every four years. China finished atop the standings in August, but Japan narrowed the gap and achieved a significant goal in the process: preparing young athletes for the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.