AND while we’re still thinking about them, here are the key events to look forward to in the wonderful world of sports in the new year – 2021.
Formal opening of the Professional Chess Association of the Phillippines (PCAP), the first-ever professional chess league in the Philippines and Southeast Asia.
A total of 240 players from 24 teams divided into the North and South divisions will see action in the inaugural online chess tournament sanctioned by the Games and Amusements Board (GAB).
The list of participants in the tournament patterned after the PBA includes a virtual who’s who in Philippine chess: GMs Eugene Torre (Rizal), Rogelio Antonio Jr. (Iloilo), Julio Sadorra (Manila), Mark Paragua (Camarines), John Paul Gomez and Rogelio Barcenilla, Jr. (Cabuyao), Darwin Laylo and Roland Salvador (Pasig) and Oliver Barbosa (San Juan).
Date: January 16.
FIBA Asia Cup qualifying tournament in Clark, Pampanga.
Hosted by the Samahang Basketball ng Pilipinas (SBP), the competition will serve as the third and last window of the FIBA competition.
Eight teams, led by the Philippines, will play in the competition to be held in the same venue which hosted the coronavirus-interrupted PBA 45th season
In Group A are the Philippines, South Korea, Indonesia, and Thailand. The PBA-backed Gilas Pilipinas currently leads Group A with a 3-0 record.
Group C is composed of New Zealand, Australia, Guam, and Hong Kong.
An interesting twist in the tournament is the addition of several PBA players to reinforce the young but talent-laden Filipino team.
Date: February 18-22.
Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) 46th Season.
After the success of its PBA Philippine Cup which Barangay Ginebra won in a best-of-seven series against Talk N Text inside the NBA-inspired PBA bubble in Clark, the PBA now hopes to launch a new season on April.
The PBA, led by Commussioner Willie Marcial and Chairman Ricky Vargas, is planning a two-conference format at a still undetermined venue.
Pending discussions with the IATF and GAB and the expected availability of the vaccine to the deadly coronavirus, the league is also looking at the possibility of allowing a limited number of fans back to the games.
With more young and outstanding players coming through the PBA Rookie Draft this March, Asia’s first-ever play-for-pay league is look8ng for a big rebound starting April.
Date: April 9.
The sixth edition of the Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games (AIMAG) will provide the excitement for avid sports fans in the merry month of May.
Also known as Bangkok–Chonburi 2021, the 10-day Asian multi-sport event in indoor and martial arts sports will showcase the highest number of sports in the history of the games, at a total of 29.
This edition was most notable for being the first edition to include badminton, BMX cycling, cheerleading, floorball, indoor rowing, netball, shooting and volleyball.
For the Filipinos, this will be another great chance to showcase their skills following their overall success in the 30th SEA Games in Manila in 2019.
Filipino martial arts stars also get the chance to take centerstage for the first time since the introduction of the controversial House Bill 1526, or the “Act Banning Minors in Combat Sports”.
Date: May 21-30.
The word’s biggest sporting spectacle — the Olympic Games — is surely the most-awaited events of them all..
Originally due to take place from July 24- Aug. 9 2020, the event was postponed in March 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The competition will be finally held in Tokyo, Japan on July
For the Filipinos, the Tokyo Olympics present the country’s biggest chance to finally capture its first-ever elusive Olympic gold medal.
Four world-class athletes have already qualified: gymnast Caloy Yulo, pole vaulter EJ Obiena and boxers Eumir Marcial and Irish Magno.
Several more athletes are knocking on the door, including Rio Olympics silver medalist Hidilyn Diaz in weilghtlifting, Fil-Japanese Kiyomi Watanabe in judo and the Triple J — Junna Tsukii, Joane Orbon and Jamie Lim — in karate.
One Olympic gold. That’s all we need.
Date: July 23-August 8
A Top Three finish in the 31st Southeast Asian Games in Hanoi, Vietnam could serve as a fitting yearender for the Filipino athletes in 2021.
After winning the overall championship in Manila in 2019, the Filipinos should be happy enough to bring home even half of the 149 gold medals they won in Manila.
This is especially true considering reports that the host nation has decided to exclude most of the sports where the Filipinos won most of their medals in Manila. Date: November 21-December 2.
With the end to the pandemic in the horizon, more sports events are expected to be played this year. Several professional sports are also now getting ready for their restarts under the new normal.
Hopefully, it will be another fun-filled, action-packed sporting season for all of us.
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