Guide to 2019 - where to see British stars in action this year

Guide to 2019 - where to see British stars in action this year

01 January 2019 / 11:00
With the Olympic rings looming bright on the horizon, 2019 promises to be an exciting year for prospective Team GB athletes as they start to set their focus on Tokyo 2020.

Whether it’s key qualification events for Tokyo or just an opportunity to lay down a marker against your potential Olympic rivals, the pressure really starts to ramp up in the year before a Games.

One of the first major events in the calendar is the European Indoor Championships in Glasgow at the beginning of March.

Middle-distance runner and home favourite Laura Muir will be one of the athletes competing at the Emirates Arena in Glasgow as she looks to defend the 1500m and 3000m titles she won in Belgrade two years prior.

Commonwealth Games gold medallist in the 4x100m relay Asha Philip is also set to compete in Scotland. 

Later in March, the world’s best shuttlers will compete at the YONEX All England Badminton Championship at Arena Birmingham – with Chris and Gabby Adcock looking to make their mark in the mixed doubles while Olympic bronze medallists from Rio Marcus Ellis and Chris Langridge will go in the men’s doubles.

April sees runners – both amateur and professional – pound the streets of the capital in the Virgin Money London Marathon, with quadruple Olympic gold medallist Sir Mo Farah set to get the biggest cheers from the spectators who line the streets. 

After the successes of the inaugural European Games in Azerbaijan in 2015, they return this year in the Belarusian capital of Minsk – from 21 to 30 June.

Team GB finished third in the medal table at Baku 2015 – their 18 golds trailing only Russia and hosts Azerbaijan – and will look to build on that in Minsk.

The likes of Katie Archibald and Jason and Laura Kenny will all look to up the gears in the track cycling and keep accruing crucial ranking points towards the Olympic track rankings.

Katie Archibald and Laura Kenny look set to compete at the European Games
Cyclists Katie Archibald and Laura Kenny are set to be part of the British team at the European Games in Minsk

But the European Games also serve as a qualification event for many sports, with the opportunity to win a quota place for Team GB at Tokyo up for grabs.

Archery, canoe sprint, karate and shooting will all have quota spots on the line, making the European Games even more pivotal than usual.

If Andy Murray is to complete a hat-trick of Olympic gold medals in Tokyo, then he will hope his return from a hip injury goes without any hitches and will be looking to make an impact during the grass court season at both Queen’s Club and Wimbledon in June and July. 

The last four winners of the Tour de France have been British cyclists and 2018 winner Geraint Thomas and four-time champion Chris Froome will battle it out for the yellow jersey once more across the roads of France in July.

July also sees the FINA World Aquatics Championships take place in Gwangju in South Korea – from 12-28 – with the likes of Jack Laugher, Adam Peaty, Freya Anderson and Tom Daley all set to test themselves against the best in the world. 

The event has added importance for British divers and open water swimmers, with quota places for Tokyo 2020 up for grabs in those sports.

Adam Peaty will compete at the FINA World Aquatics Championships in Gwangju in South Korea
Adam Peaty is set to compete in the FINA World Aquatics Championships in South Korea in July

The European Diving Championships in Kiev, Ukraine – on an exact date yet to be determined – will be another opportunity for the likes of Laugher, Daley and Grace Reid to book Team GB a spot in Tokyo.

Closer to home, The London Stadium will host the Anniversary Games on July 20-21 with the likes of Dina Asher-Smith and Reece Prescod looking to impress ahead of the World Championships. 

August sees the chance to watch some world-class sport – with Olympic implications – on home soil when the European Modern Pentathlon Championships head to the University of Bath on August 6-11.

The top eight athletes in the men's and women's individual finals will achieve a quota spot for Team GB for the Games, so there’s all the more reason to cheer on the Brits in the West Country.

Later that month, Antwerp hosts the EuroHockey Nations Championship where the winners of the men’s and women’s events will confirm themselves as Tokyo-bound a year out from the Olympics.

Sport climbing will make its Olympic debut in 2020 and the IFSC Combined World Championship in Tokyo in August offers seven men’s and seven women’s spots in the field, while an Olympic Qualifying Event in Toulouse later in 2019 offers another six.

Rowing has long proved a reliable source of Olympic medals for Team GB and Ottsenheim in Austria is the host of the 2019 World Rowing Championships from August 25 to September 1 – the sport’s showpiece also serving as the main qualifying event for Tokyo, with up to 11 quota spots available in some disciplines.

2019 is also a crucial 12 months for GB’s gymnasts as the Artistic Gymnastics World Championships in Stuttgart, the Rhythmic Gymnastics World Championships in Baku and the Trampoline Gymnastics World Championships in Tokyo all offer Olympic quota places as well as the chance to get one over on your rivals.

The Athletics World Championships take place in Doha from September 27-October 6 with the world’s elite coming together to put a marker down a year out from the Olympic Games.

The British team won two golds, three silvers and one bronze medal on home soil at the last World Championships, so will be eager to improve on that haul.

Sportsbeat 2019