Dec 16, 2008

Sport - Major Sporting stories in 2008

REUTERS - Major sporting stories in 2008:

Jan 4 - The 6,000-km Dakar Rally, held uninterrupted since 1979, is called off after four French tourists were killed in Mauritania in December. The 2009 edition is scheduled for South America.

Jan 29 - India spinner Harbhajan Singh is cleared of racial abuse after an appeal to the International Cricket Council (ICC). Harbhajan had been suspended for three tests for allegedly calling Australia all-rounder Andrew Symonds "a monkey" during the second test.

Feb 3 - New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning evades three tackles and fires a 32-yard pass to wide receiver David Tyree for the winning touchdown in Super Bowl XLII against the New England Patriots. The last-minute touchdown seals a 17-14 win for the Giants and prevents the Patriots from becoming the first National Football League (NFL) side to go 19-0 for the season.

Feb 20 - The Chennai franchise pay $1.5 million for India one-day cricket captain Mahendra Dhoni in an unprecedented auction to determine who plays where in the inaugural Indian Twenty20 League.

May 21 - English soccer champions Manchester United win the Champions League by beating Chelsea 6-5 on penalties in Moscow after the Premier League rivals were tied 1-1 following extra time.

May 30 - Jamaican Usain Bolt breaks compatriot Asafa Powell's world 100 metres record in a time of 9.72 seconds at the New York Games.

June 4 - Detroit Red Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom from Sweden becomes the first European to lead a team to the Stanley Cup. The Red Wings defeat the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-2 in Game Six to win the National Hockey League (NHL) series 4-2.

June 15 - Tiger Woods, battling crippling pain in his left knee, defeats fellow American Rocco Mediate in the first sudden-death hole of a U.S. Open playoff. He takes the remainder of the year off after undergoing reconstructive surgery.

June 29 - Spain claim their first major soccer title for 44 years with a 1-0 win over Germany in the European championship final in Vienna. Liverpool striker Fernando Torres scores the only goal of the match in the 33rd minute.

July 6 - Rafael Nadal defeats Roger Federer in an epic, rain-interrupted, five-set Wimbledon singles final to become the first man since Bjorn Borg to win the French Open and Wimbledon titles in the same year. Federer was bidding to surpass Borg and become only the second man to win six consecutive Wimbledon titles.

Aug 8-24 - A spectacular opening ceremony in the futuristic Bird's Nest stadium precedes an immaculately organised Beijing Olympics. In the pool, Michael Phelps wins an unprecedented eight gold medals, including seven world records, to better the record set by fellow American Mark Spitz 36 years earlier. On the track, Bolt breaks the world 100 and 200 metres marks in the greatest exhibition of sprinting witnessed at an Olympics. China head the medals table, with 51 golds, ahead of the United States.

Aug 10 - Irishman Padraig Harrington follows his repeat victory in the British Open by winning the PGA Championship at Oakland Hills. He is the first European to win the USPGA since Scotland-born Tommy Armour in 1930.

Aug 24 - The ICC postpone the eight-nation Champions Trophy scheduled for Pakistan in the following month after South Africa withdraw because of safety and security fears and four other countries say they will follow suit. The one-day tournament is rescheduled for October 2009.

Sept 1 - An Abu Dhabi-based company agrees a deal to buy English Premier League side Manchester City from former Thai premier Thaksin Shinawatra. A spokesman for the company says it aims to make City the biggest club in the world's richest soccer league.

Sept 7 - Formula One championship leader Lewis Hamilton of the McLaren team is stripped of victory in the Belgian Grand Prix after the stewards decide he cut the chicane and took an unfair advantage over Ferrari's world champion Kimi Raikkonen.

Sept 9 - Seven-times Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong announces he is coming out of retirement and plans to race in the 2009 Tour.

Sept 14 - German Sebastian Vettel becomes the youngest man to win a Formula One race with victory in the Italian Grand Prix at the age of 21 years 74 days.

Sept 22 - Paul Azinger's U.S. team wins the biennial Ryder Cup team golf competition for the first time since 1999 after beating Europe 16-1/2 to 11-1/2 at the Valhalla Club in Kentucky.

Oct 10 - Former world 100 metres record holder Tim Montgomery is sentenced to five years' jail on heroin possession and selling charges.

Oct 17 - Sachin Tendulkar overtakes West Indian Brian Lara's world-record test-runs tally of 11,953 on the opening day of India's second test against Australia at Mohali.

Nov 2 - Hamilton moves from sixth to fifth on the final lap of the Brazilian Grand Prix to become the youngest Formula One drivers' champion.

Frenchman Sebastien Loeb survives a late spin in heavy rain to finish third in the Japan motor rally and clinch a record fifth consecutive world rally championship.

Nov 23 - Spain, without the injured Nadal, beat Argentina 3-1 to win the Davis Cup tennis final.

Dec 5 - Honda pull out of Formula One because of difficult business conditions. A week later, the sport's governors approve a package of cost-cutting measures.

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