Yearender: Top 10 world sports news events in 2018

Following are the top 10 sports news items that broke across the world in 2018 (in chronological order) as selected by Xinhua News Agency:
– On January 28, Roger Federer won his 20th Grand Slam title after lifting the Rod Laver Cup at the Australian Open, becoming the first male tennis player to accomplish this feat. On February 16, the 36-year-old reclaimed the world top ranking after five years and broke the record set by U.S. player Andre Agassi to become the oldest world No. 1.

– Beijing took over the Olympic Flag at the closing ceremony of the PyeongChang Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, marking the start of the Winter Games entering “Beijing Time.” Beijing issued a worldwide call for mascot designs on August 8 and for opening ceremony proposals on October 15.

– On May 26, Real Madrid defeated Liverpool 3-1 in the final of the UEFA Champions League, becoming the first club to win three consecutive titles in the Champions League era. On December 22, the Spanish powerhouse moved past Al Ain 4-1 to win an unprecedented three straight FIFA Club World Cups.

– The joint bid by the United States, Canada and Mexico won the right to host the 2026 World Cup on the 68th FIFA Congress in Moscow on June 13. Of the 80 matches to be played, 60 will be played in the United States with Canada and Mexico hosting 10 matches each. Mexico, who has held the 1970 and 1986 World Cup, will be the first country to host the tournament three times.

– A Thai soccer team of 12 boys aging between 11 and 16 and their coach were trapped in a flooded cave on June 23. All of them were successfully rescued after 18 days, thanks to the joint efforts by more than 1,000 personnel from local and international rescue teams from China, the United States, Britain and other countries.

– On July 15, France defeated Croatia 4-2 in the 2018 Russia World Cup final to be crowned world champions for the second time after they lifted the World Cup on home soil in 1998. 19-year-old Kylian Mbappe netted a goal in the final, becoming the second player under 20 to score in a World Cup final after Pele. The Russia World Cup is the first World Cup to introduce Video Assistant Referee technology.

– China won 132 golds, 92 silvers and 64 bronzes at the 2018 Jakarta Asian Games held from August 18 to September 2. China has dominated the medal tally for 10 consecutive years. Compared with the last edition of the Asiad, China yielded better results in team events, especially football, basketball and volleyball.

– Croatian midfielder Luka Modric won the FIFA Best Player of the Year award on September 24 and the Ballon d’Or award on December 3, opening a new chapter in the history of the two awards, which have been shared by Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo in the past decade. The 33-year-old helped Real Madrid to win an unprecedented third consecutive UEFA Champions League title and spearheaded Croatia into the World Cup final for the first time in the country’s history in Russia, lifting the tournament’s Golden Ball.

– Africa will welcome the continent’s first Olympic event as Senegalese capital Dakar was selected by the International Olympic Committee as the host for the 2022 Youth Summer Olympic Games at the 133rd IOC Session on October 8. By then, the Olympic event will have been held on all six permanently inhabited continents.

– South Korea and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea will cast a joint bid for the 2032 Summer Games, a decision which was hailed by IOC President Thomas Bach. At the Pyeongchang Winter Olympic Games and the Jakarta Asian Games, athletes from South Korea and the DPRK marched into the stadium together under the Korean Peninsula flag and fielded joint teams in some events. The joint team claimed gold in the women’s 200m dragon boat race at the Asiad, their first such title in international comprehensive sports games.