By Max Clarke
The UK's capital is set to see one of its busiest years for major sporting events for over a decade with numerous world-class events taking place in London throughout 2011. As the city prepares for the world’s most famous sporting event of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, the capital will prepare to welcome over thirty top sporting events over the next 12 months.
Many of the events happening in 2011 will take place in future Olympic venues, including the World Badminton Championships in Wembley Arena (8-14th August) and the ITU World Triathlon London (6-7th August) which will take place in and around Hyde Park.
As well as the popular repeat sporting events such as the NFL, ATP Tennis, the London Marathon and The Boat Race (Oxford vs. Cambridge), London will also play host to a number of unique events in 2011. One particular coup for London is hosting the first ever NBA Season Games to take place outside of North America. The games will take place in the O2 Arena on the 4th and 5th March and will see New Jersey Nets battle it out against the Toronto Raptors.
Another major sporting event to come to the city in May 2011 will be the UEFA Champions League Final, which will take place on the 28th May at Wembley Stadium. With a whole programme of events and football fan activities lined-up including an eight-day Champions Festival fan experience in Hyde Park the event will be a citywide celebration of the beautiful game.
Following this winter's retention of the Ashes in Australia, cricket fans will also be able to see the England team in action against Sri Lanka and India at the Oval and at Lords.
The Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: "2011 promises to be another jam-packed year for major events in the capital, with twelve months of thrilling sporting action to look forward to. Almost any day of the week London is home to an astonishing variety of sport at all levels, and this exciting programme will see some of the biggest names competing at the very highest level right here on our doorstep. It sets the scene in top notch style as we build up to 2012."
Iain Edmondson, Head of Events for London at Visit London added: “London is an iconic destination for event goers all year round with international sport being staged in every month of the year. 2011 will be a taste of things to come in the capital with ever more exciting global events coming to London in 2012 and beyond."