Opinion: Chance for other sports to shine in 2013

Last week, I talked about a new year being all about untapped potential. But I wonder if 2013 could be considered a bit of a sporting anti-climax after the frenzy caused by the Rugby World Cup in 2011, and celebrations associated with the London Olympics in 2012.

As sports fans, critics and consumers, what do we have to look forward to in 2013?For athletes who did all they could to peak for the Olympics, 2013 may be a time to recover from injuries, rebuild their fitness base, work on technical issues and catch up with friends and family who they've neglected leading up to 2012.

Some All Blacks also continue to take sabbatical and rest their weary bodies and minds after the emotional and physical intensity of the World Cup and a long Super Rugby season.

Athletes and teams that don't fall under the rugby or Olympic banner are likely relieved they'll get some of the limelight and may even have a chance of winning the Halberg Awards. Of course, there are the annual big events associated with golf and tennis, and our ''national'' sports of netball and rugby.

The Silver Ferns will be aiming to defend the Constellation Cup, and the All Blacks have 13 international matches to play in 2013 (unlucky for some?), including games against World Cup finalist France, which will want redemption after the narrow loss in 2011.

Talking of redemption, organisers of the Tour de France event will be hoping no doping scandals arise in the wake of the Lance Armstrong debacle, while rugby league fans will be looking forward to the Kiwis defending their title at their World Cup.

So far, these sports are predominantly male, and 2013 may be the year for women's teams to shine, even if no-one is looking at, listening to or watching women's sport.

The New Zealand women's cricket team will be playing at the World Cup, hosted in India, and will want to knock over the English team as payback for a narrow loss in 2009.

This year will also be the last time the Sevens World Cup takes place, and the second time women's teams will be included in the event. The New Zealand women lost to Australia the last time they faced off at this tournament, and with the Olympics in their sights, both teams will want to prove they have what it takes to win gold in Rio.

The Ice Fernz have their division 2, group A world ice hockey championships to prepare for in April, which surprisingly is on home soil (home ice?), where they'll be playing against teams from Italy, Hungary, Australia, Slovenia and Poland.

Sports that want to prove to High Performance Sport New Zealand that they deserve funding will also see 2013 as a crucial time, and as one of the sports to be put on the chopping block, swimming will have to deliver some personal bests at the world championships in Dubai to swim back into the Crown's good books.

And last but not least, for field hockey fanatics at both the junior and senior levels, there are the Junior Games and the Golden Oldies festival in Hawaii to look forward to. Hmmm . . . Hawaii. What a great place for a sports event. I wonder if I'd be eligible to play Golden Oldies in hockey. Suddenly, 2013 doesn't seem like such a dud of a sports year, after all. Now where did I put that hockey stick?

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