The biggest sports events in the Middle East in 2024

Latest Events Tuesday April 2, 2024 By: Harry Howes

Football, Formula One, Boxing and countless other sports are growing in popularity throughout the Middle East and with plenty of exciting events to look forward to this year, we’ve taken a look at the biggest events coming up.

Formula One

The new F1 season is alive and kicking, with Max Verstappen picking up where he left off last time out. The three-time winner has stormed to victory in two of the three opening races, including in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.

There are plenty more races to go and racing fans in the Middle East will get to see the decisive moments at the tail end of the season. The current campaign will come to a close in December, with the Qatar Grand Prix on 1st December, followed by the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on 8th December.

Verstappen won both races last year on his way to winning the final seven events of the season. He’ll be looking to repeat the feat this time around and claim his fourth consecutive F1 championship.

Boxing

Combat sports have taken the Middle East by storm in recent years, including plenty of thrilling boxing fights that have taken place in Saudi Arabia. Next up is Tyson Fury’s highly-anticipated bout with unified heavyweight champion Oleksandr Usyk.

The pair are set to come face-to-face in Riyadh on Saturday 18th May, with Fury looking to inflict Usyk’s first ever professional defeat. The Ukrainian has won all 17 of his fights, including twice against Anthony Joshua. One of those fights took place in Saudi Arabia, which was also the setting for Fury’s victory against UFC star Francis Ngannou last October.

The undercard of Fury vs Usyk is packed full of boxing stars, including Jai Opetaia. The Australian is set to face Mairis Briedis to defend the cruiserweight belts he won from him two years ago. Elsewhere, Joe Cordina will face Anthony Cacace in a featherweight world title clash.

Golf

Much like with Formula One, the golf season’s climax takes place in the Middle East with the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai. As the ‘Race to Dubai’ comes to a close, the world’s top players will compete to be crowned the DP Tour champion from 14th to 19th November.

Danish golfer Nicolai Højgaard came out on top last year, beating runners up Tommy Fleetwood, Viktor Hovland and Matt Wallace. Previous winners include Jon Rahm and Rory McIlroy, though the latter hasn’t tasted victory in Dubai since 2015.

The competition comes a week after the penultimate event of the tour, which sees the Abu Dhabi Championship get underway from 7th to 10th November.

Tennis

The NextGen ATP Finals returns to Jeddah in Saudi Arabia in December and will pit the tennis stars of the future against one another. The competition is open to the best players aged 20 or under and will take place from 18th to 22nd December.

Carlos Alcaraz won the NextGen finals back in 2021 and it took him less than a year to win the US Open. The Spaniard went on to claim his second Grand Slam last summer, beating Novak Djokovic in the Wimbledon final. Similarly, Jannik Sinner won the NextGen final back in 2019 and earned his maiden Grand Slam at the Australian Open earlier this year.

Football

The Asian Cup took place in Qatar earlier this year and the hosts made home advantage count as they went all the way, winning the competition for the second time in a row. They beat Jordan 3-1 in the final, with Golden Boot winner Akram Afiff scoring a hat-trick of penalties to secure the trophy.

The Saudi Pro League has gone from strength to strength since splashing the cash to bring in some of the world’s biggest football stars. The likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar, Karim Benzema, Riyad Mahrez and Sadio Mane have all swapped Europe for the Middle East.

Al-Hilal, whose squad includes Kalidou Koulibaly, Aleksandar Mitrovic and Ruben Neves, are currently 12 points clear of Ronaldo’s Al-Nassr at the top of the league. The pair will meet in the semi-final of the Saudi Super Cup next week.

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