3 Sporting Events Not to Miss While in London

So you're not going to make the 2012 Olympics in London? Not a problem, there are always top notch sporting events to watch. Here are three of the best that you really shouldn't miss.

Wimbledon

Not only is Wimbledon an historic venue (this is where the world's very first lawn tennis championships were held), but it is also where the world's most legendary tennis players have competed, and continue to compete.

Anyone who has ever watched tennis at Wimbledon – and it doesn’t even have to be in the centre court – will tell you that it is an amazing experience. They'll even come home with stickers that prove that they queued for the privilege. In fact Wimbledon is one of only a handful of major sporting events in the UK where you can queue for premium tickets on the day of play. The grounds open at 9.30 in the morning of a specific event, but the first wristbands are issued at around 7.30 am (assuring these people that they will be able to buy tickets). People frequently camp in the queue overnight to ensure that they get good tickers. This is permitted, although you'll be woken at around 6 am and told to pack up your camping gear.

The Championships are held in June and July each year (which is, of course in summer), over a period of two weeks. In 2012 qualifying matches begin on June 18, and Wimbledon 2012 begins on June 25. The Ladies' Singles Final will be held on Saturday July 7, and the Men's Singles Final the following day.

The Championships, held at Wimbledon annually, is one of four major world tennis tournaments. The others are the Australian Open, the French Open and the US Open. These are also known as Grand Slams, since the greatest achievement for tennis players is to win all four events in the same year.

The tennis event of the London 2012 Olympics will be held on the famous Wimbledon lawns of The All Lawn Tennis Club from Saturday July 28 until Sunday August 5. There will be a total of five medal events.

FA Cup Final

While preliminary and qualifying matches for the 2012 FA Cup began in August-September 2011, the FA Cup Final will be held at the world-famous Wembley Stadium in London on Saturday May 5.

A British institution, the first FA Cup was held in 1871/72, eight years after the Football Association (FA) was formed. While 50 teams belonged to the FA, only 15 entries for the first Cup event were accepted. The event was held at the Kennington Oval, and was won by Wanderers, with Royal Engineers being the runners-up.

In 2012, 763 English clubs were accepted to compete!

The coveted trophy is an English icon that 42 different football clubs have won. The exact piece of silverware played for today was first awarded in 1992. The very first cup was stolen and replaced with a virtual replica in 1896. This was replaced by a bigger and better trophy in 1910; and then replaced again, by an exact replica.

The three teams to have won the FA Cup the most times are Manchester United (11), Arsenal (10) and Tottenham Hotspur (8). Manchester United was the 2011 winner, last having won in 2004, and having settled for second place in both 2005 and 2007. The club's total earnings were £4.3-million, £0.9 of which was from TV payments, and the balance, prize money.

The dates for the 2012 semi-finals were announced on March 20, 2012, with Liverpool and Chelsea both confirmed as semi-finalists, and Everton and Sunderland to compete for the game against Liverpool to be held on April 14, and Tottenham Hotspur and Bolton Wanderers vying for the semi-final game against Chelsea on the 15th.

Semi-final winners will receive a team prize of £900,000, and the runners-up will get £450,000. It is believed that the overall 2012 winning team (or club) will get £1.8-million, plus additional prize money from previous matches, as well as TV payments. The runner-up is set to get £900,000 in prize money, for competing in the final match.

Test Cricket at Lord's

If cricket is the spectator sport you prefer, then you won't want to miss test cricket at Lord's when you're in London. This is considered the home of British cricket, and is often described as the game's "spiritual headquarters". It is where you can watch some of the best cricket matches in the world.

Cricket is one of the oldest sports in the world, and one that was originally intended for nobility and the elite. The original Lord's cricket ground was established in 1787 by Thomas Lord, a bowler, on request of the cricketing community in London, on the site of what is now Dorset Square in Marylebone. This saw the formation of the Marylebone Cricket Club, which still "owns" Lord's today, and which is also the guardian of both the laws and "spirit" of cricket worldwide.

Today Lord's is situated in St. Johns Wood, which was established in 1814, again by Thomas Lord, although he sold the ground to William Ward, a director of the Bank of England for £5,000 in 1825. It is, of course, a world-class cricket venue, and a favorite for test cricket. Test matches scheduled for 2012 include England versus the West Indies from May 17-21, and England versus South Africa in September. There is also a one day international (ODI) scheduled against Australia on June 29, and another against South Africa on September 2. While tickets for the ODI matches are already sold out, there are still tickets available for the test matches.



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