China is the leading Global Sports Nation 2013

London, Nov 19, 2013: China has retained number one position in Sportcal’s Global Sports Nations Index for 2013 while Russia has moved into second position and the United Kingdom into third, both overtaking Canada in the process.

The November 2013 edition of the Global Sports Nations Index shows China – boosted by the large number of events it hosted between 2008 and 2012 – maintain a narrow lead over Russia and the UK. The May 2013 edition had China first, Canada second and Russia third.

Although China hosted only a single counting event – badminton’s BWF World Championship – in 2013, it can look forward to next year’s Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing and the return of athletics to the Bird’s Nest stadium in Beijing with the 2015 IAAF World Athletics Championships.

The world’s most populous nation has been quiet on the bidding stage with no major events signed up so far beyond 2015, but following the recent announcement that Beijing has submitted its candidature for the 2022 winter Olympics (together with the northern city of Zhangjiakou), a second wave of Chinese bidding could be on the horizon.

The Global Sports Nations Index is based on a rolling 12-year cycle, looking six years back and six years forward, and covers over 700 major multi-sport games and world championships. The next edition of the index – to be published in Spring 2014 – will move the time frame forward to 2009 – 2020; with 2008 dropping out of the index and 2020 coming in. As a consequence, China will lose over 10,000 points on the index and, very likely, its number one spot.

Over 41 nations have hosted multi-sport events or world championships in 2013, the highest total since 2008 when China hosted the Olympic Games. A total of 78 nations have hosted major sporting events covered by the Global Sports Nations Index.

The year 2013 has been a big one for Russia with the IAAF World Athletics Championships, the IRB Rugby World Cup Sevens in Moscow, the World Speed Skating Championships in Sochi and the Summer Universiade in Kazan.

Russian hosting of major events continues in 2014 with the Sochi winter Olympics and in 2018 with the FIFA World Cup. Russia has also secured several new events, including recent announcements that it will host the Winter Universiade in Krasnoyarsk, Siberia in 2019, the World Taekwondo Championships in Chelyabinsk in 2015 and the Bobsleigh and Skeleton World Championships in Sochi in 2017.

The United Kingdom moves into third position following the recent awards of the UCI Track World Championships and the IAAF World Half Marathon Championships (both 2016) and field hockey’s FIH Women’s World Cup and IAAF World Indoor Athletics World Championships (both 2018).

The UK continues to push hard to retain its place in the top three nations, having established its Gold Event Series, which seeks to build on the legacy created by the London Olympics in 2012.

Canada drops to fourth position as most of the events it has been recently awarded were winter sports, which were awarded at the start of 2013. It has hosted the most events in the 12-year period with 43 events hosted or secured through to 2018.

Canada’s strength nevertheless lies in the number of winter championships it has hosted. Its alternate hosting of the men’s and women’s curling world championships provides a world championship every year. This, matched with the hosting of the Vancouver winter Olympics in 2010, has placed it as a strong contender for the leading global sports nation.

Japan won 2013’s biggest prize with Tokyo’s successful bid to host the Olympic Games in 2020. This event will appear on the 2014 Nations index and will significantly enhance Japan’s standing in the global sports world. Japan also secured the world championships in women’s curling in 2015.

USA has been the most successful country in bidding for new events in 2013, having secured world championships in indoor athletics, figure skating, rowing and triathlon. With a likely bid for the Olympic Games in 2024, USA could well be moving up the Global Sports Nations Index in 2014. —- Sportcal

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