Monday, 2nd January
Honour Roll in Sydney
The annual Sydney Hobart Yacht Race is viewed by many as one of the toughest tests of sailing. On Saturday Celestial was crowned the overall winner of the 77th edition, with James Dagge awarded the Bill Owen Memorial Trophy as the navigator of the winning yacht. One of the proud achievements the year goes to Peter Langman's Maluka, the oldest and smallest yacht in the 2022 fleet, who crossed the Castray Esplanade finish line on Saturday afternoon. Rupert Henry and Greg O’Shea sailed Mistral to the Two-Handed Division victory. Built in 1981, the crew of White Bay 6 Azzuro sailed their last race after being a regular achiever on every occasion they participated. Skipper Shane Kearns retires from racing for health reasons and has now sold his boat. As one challenging race finishes, another begins today in Cape Town. The Cape 2 Rio Yacht Race is the longest continent-to-continent yacht race in the southern hemisphere with the winner expected in Rio de Janeiro by mid January.
In cricket news Pakistan's captain Babar Azam holds the record for the most runs in a calendar year by a Pakistani player. Azam also now holds the record for the most 50+ scores within a calendar year after surpassing Australia's Ricky Ponting's 24. At the Arab Mountain Bike Championships in Sharjah, Tunisia's Maher Habouria and Morocco's Wissal Baoubbou became the men's and women's elite champions. The Netherland's Mathieu van der Poel and Shirin van Anrooij claimed victory in Gavere, Belgium, at the latest round of the 2022/2023 UCI Cyclo-Cross World Cup.
Earlier last week, Villach in Austria hosted the FIS Women's Ski Jumping World Cup with local star Eva Pinkelnig winning the HS98 event. Remaining in Austria with Semmering the location for the FIS Women's Alpine World Cup, USA's Mikaela Shiffrin claimed both Giant Slalom and Slalom. It was the American's 50th career slalom win, the most in any single discipline for a skier. The victories at Semmering has given Shiffrin 80 career World Cup wins, just two behind the women's record held by compatriot Lindsey Vonn. At the men's Four Hills Tournament in Oberstdorf, Germany, Norway's Halvor Egner Granerud claimed the HS137 event.
The weekend had three FIS World Cup competitions. Eva Pinkelnig continued her good form by winning the next FIS Women's Ski Jumping World Cup held in Ljubno, Slovenia. The women's ski jumping events form part of the FIS Silvester Tournament. Again it was Halvor Egner Granerud who won the FIS Men's Ski Jumping World Cup in Garmisch-Partenkirchen. Switzerland's Val Müstair hosted the FIS Cross-Country World Cup. Honours in the 1.5 km Sprint Final Free went to local star Nadine Faehndrich and Norway's Johannes Hoesflot Klaebo. The 10 km Pursuit Classic gold medals were claimed by Norway's Tiril Udnes Weng and Johannes Hoesflot Klaebo.
Kazakhstan's Bibisara Assaubayeva and Norway's Magnus Carlsen are the FIDE World Blitz Champions hosted in Almaty, Kazakhstan. It was Assaubayeva's second consecutive gold in the event and also Carlsen's second gold, who won both the World Rapid & Blitz Championships.
One of the toughest offroad motor racing events in the world is the Dakar Rally, which started on Saturday in Saudi Arabia. Sadly for Britain's Sam Sunderland and his defence of the motorbike classification, the opening stage ended in a crash that required an airlift to the hospital. Sunderland will thankfully recover from his injuries, but he cannot continue in this year's race. The rally ends on 15 January.
Finally, the United Kingdom's Gary McKee started on 1 January 2022 with the mission to run a marathon every day of the year. McKee completed his final run on Saturday and reached his target of £1m for his two chosen charities Macmillan Cancer Support and West Cumbria Hospice at Home.
Happy New Year and have a great week in sport.