Best of 2019: Top 6 memorable sporting feats of the year
A recall of the most poignant and spectacular sporting feats of 2019
Lewis Hamilton had something to spare as he clinched his sixth Formula One driver's title at the US Grand Prix with two races left in the season. Mercedes started strongly, winning the first six races, with Hamilton taking four of them. Even when the Ferraris were faster and their 21-year-old starlet Charles Leclerc collected four straight pole positions, Hamilton kept finding a way to win. He ended the season with 11 victories in the 21 races to collect a third straight title. He is now just one world title behind the all-time mark of Michael Schumacher.
Eliud Kipchoge's run on October 12 in a Vienna park might have been carefully stage managed, yet it was still a momentous and emblematic feat. The Kenyan became the first person to complete a timed run over the marathon distance in under two hours. After narrowly missing in 2017, he beat the symbolic mark by almost 20 seconds. He also bettered the world record by two minutes but did not break it. Because he ran behind a pace car, was escorted by a rotating phalanx of pace makers and had no competition, the official record remains a relatively leisurely 2:01:39, set by Kipchoge in Berlin 2018.
Djoko High on grass
Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer pushed the limits as they fought out a dazzling heavyweight men's final at Wimbledon. At 4 hours, 57 minutes it was the longest Wimbledon final. It only ended as soon as it did because of the first ever fifth-set tie-break in a Wimbledon final. Djokovic retained his title, 7-6, 1-6, 7-6, 4-6, 13-12, after saving two championship points. It was his 16th Grand Slam title. Only Federer (20) and Rafael Nadal (19) have more. Between them the three have now won the last 12 Grand Slams.
Simone Biles sparkled again at the gymnastics world championships in Stuttgart in October. She won five more golds to take her tally to a record 25. Biles unveiled two fresh and complex elements, sparking debate after the international gymnastics federation assigned the moves relatively low values arguing that they did not want other gymnasts to endanger themselves imitating the American. The triumph came in a tough year which saw Biles speak about being abused by former US team doctor Larry Nassar. The American has suggested that she will retire after the Tokyo Olympics next year.
Out of the Woods
Tiger Woods showed he still has claws as he tore through the field on the final round at the Masters on April 14 to win his first major in 11 years. The 43-year-old Woods started the final day clad in his famous Sunday red and two shots behind Francesco Molinari. Over the last seven holes, five other men held or shared the lead. Only Woods held his nerve as he won his 15th major and fifth Masters. The rest of the season was more of the struggle, but Woods had proved he can still perform on the biggest Sundays.
Big Ben rules London
Ben Stokes stooped to conquer. Returning to the England team after a ban following a brawl in 2017, he started the World Cup with runs, wickets and an astonishing catch to win man of the match. From there, his year just got better. In the final against New Zealand, he made 84 not out to earn England a tie, helped by a bizarre incident when he was hit by a fielder's throw as he dived for a run, deflecting the ball for four overthrows. England won on tiebreak. Stokes was man of the match. In the Ashes, he clobbered an unbeaten 135, to claw England back from the brink in the third Test at Headingley.
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