2016 might of delivered shock deaths, political drama but in sport, it has delivered plenty of shocking and feel good moments. Let take a look at those that are at the lower end of my top ten sporting moments.
10. Juan Martin Del Potro shocks Novak Djokovic in 1st round of Olympics tennis
Where better to start than with possibly the mother of all tennis shocks when world no.1, Novak Djokovic was sent packing in the 1st round of the Olympics. This was a replay of the 2012 summer Olympics bronze medal match.
His conqueror, Juan Martin Del Potro had only just returned from injury in February. Despite slowly easing himself back into action, it didn’t stop him causing a few upsets with Stan Wawrinka being the first big name to fall against a resurgent Del Potro.
He then came into Rio, having not played since exiting Wimbledon in the third round. Djokovic had the momentum after winning the Toronto Masters.
The match itself was an epic with both players refusing to concede with ease. Both sets went to tie breaks but the Argentinian had more in the tank to take control and seal a 7-6 7-6 victory, despite being outside the world top 100.
Both players huddled at the net before the Serbian departed the court in tears. Certainly, a match that rewarded those in Europe, who stayed up into the early hours to see two of the world’s most popular sportsmen go hell for leather.
Tennis fans were further rewarded when Del Potro saw off Nadal in the semis to reach the gold medal final, where he fought against Andy Murray before crumbling after four hours.
9. England vs Wales
The first local home nations derby in years in the finals of a major tournament saw England claim a hard-fought victory over their Welsh neighbours.
Wales took the lead through a free kick by Gareth Bale that was pathetically allowed over the line by Joe Hart. England came out for the second half and quickly upped the ante and were rewarded with a goal ten minutes later, when Jamie Vardy managed to get the ball over the line to make it 1-1.
The match seemed set for a draw but heartbreak struck in injury time for one side. Daniel Sturridge got the ball and after forcing his way into the box, stabbed the ball past Wayne Hennessey to give the Lions their sole victory of the tournament with a 2-1 comeback win.
Both sides however made the knockout stage with the Dragons roaring on till Portugal put their fire out in the semi-finals.
Less said about England’s progress in the knockout stage the better.
8. BTCC Round 18 start line carnage at Snetterton
The British Touring Car Championship saw many memorable moments from Tom Ingram winning the first race of the season to Gordon Shedden breaking Sam Tordoff’s heart and title hopes in the very last race of the season.
There was however one moment that stood out from this season for its unexpectedness. Round 18 saw a spectacular start line smash that ended with Hunter Abbot barrel rolling over the fence and into a TV gantry.
Nobody saw an accident of this scale coming after the previous round’s first lap shenanigans at the first corner. Thankfully nobody was seriously injured and the race was able to restart with a ten-lap sprint to the finish. Gordon Shedden stormed through the field and took victory on the last lap over Rob Collard, ending a dramatic day on a nice note.
Come back tomorrow to find out which sporting moments are ranked 7-5th for 2016.