Sporting New Year’s resolutions for 2019: Qatar, CrossFit, Uefa Champions League, Jon Jones and Japan at the Rugby World Cup

  • If you’re looking for some sports related New Year’s resolutions other than dusting off your gym membership, here’s nine to usher in 2019
PUBLISHED : Thursday, 27 December, 2018, 4:03pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 27 December, 2018, 4:14pm

With 2019 right around the corner, it is time to do the usual: make resolutions you fully expect to break sometime around mid-January when the reality of your high expectations sink in.

But, if you are serious about following through on your follow through, here are nine sporting suggestions:

I will cheer for someone other than the Golden State Warriors come NBA play-off time

What is more fun that watching sports dynasties reign supreme? How about watching them crumble?

Nobody is expected to beat the Golden State Warriors in this year’s NBA play-offs, but wouldn’t it be cool to see them upset in the first or second round? Cracks have appeared in the Steph Curry led super team, from Kevin Durant and Draymond Green feuding like girlish teenagers to the squad being unseated by the Denver Nuggets atop the Western Conference.

LeBron James injured, faces MRI after Lakers rout of Golden State Warriors on Christmas Day

Sure, you still want to get some miles out of that Curry jersey you bought back when everyone and their dog jumped on the Dubs bandwagon, but maybe it is time to retire the gold and blue?

I will become a South China Tigers fan

Australian mining magnate Andrew Forrest has a bold vision: create a new rugby super league in Asia-Pacific. His Global Rapid Rugby might be maligned for its poor naming choice, but the tour, which starts in late February, will feature a Hong Kong-based team in the South China Tigers.

Enter the South China Tigers, Hong Kong’s new team in Andrew Forrest’s Global Rapid Rugby series

Local rugby fans are still digesting the fact that Hong Kong will not make the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan, and will have to wait until the 2023 edition in France, which is expected to feature an expanded format. But until then, how about giving Forrest’s ambitious vision a shot? If anyone can pull off a bold, brash plan, it has got to be Forrest. Just maybe shorten the name to GRR.

I will not let Fifa off the hook for giving Qatar the next World Cup

In what can only be called a blatant disregard for rules, ethics and morals, Fifa gave the next World Cup to the tiny Middle Eastern nation of Qatar. Ill-equipped to handle such a massive event, the country is scrambling to finish stadiums and quell fears this tournament is going to be a laughing stock for all the bad press it has garnered.

Fifa 2022 World Cup: Qatar is a bust, and we’re still four years away from the kick-off

Qatar does not represent the unity in which football brings to the world: that we can come together, put aside religion, ethnicity and politics to enjoy sport together. Qatar has an abysmal human rights record, has laws against homosexuality and is ruled by the ultra conservative values of Sharia law.

Fifa should be ashamed they got bought by oil money, and let’s make them pay for it by reminding them for the next four years.

I will follow CrossFit, and maybe give it a try

If you haven’t watched The Redeemed and the Dominant, it is a Netflix must-see. The documentary, which chronicles the 2017 CrossFit Games has a little bit of everything: Mat Fraser becoming the new face of CrossFit, Tia Toomey finally getting redemption, and a steroid scandal.

The sport has been pillared by the rise of CrossFit “boxes” across the world, and WODs (Workout Of the Day) have taken Asia by storm in particular.

CrossFit’s rule changes divide community as sport tries to go international

There’s also a solid chance with the new rules that we will see two Hong Kong athletes, most likely Ant Haynes on the men’s side, and Victoria Campos on the women’s side, get to head to the 2019 CrossFit Games, which is likely to take place somewhere in the States.

We’re not asking for 50 pull-ups or dead-lifting your own body weight, but how about picking up a kettle bell instead of running to nowhere on a treadmill in 2019?

I will get behind Hong Kong’s push to upgrade its harbourfront

If there’s one thing Hong Kong is missing, it is a closed loop winding around its urban core for runners, bikers and daily commuters on foot. There’s been a lot of chatter lately in terms of proposals and studies when it comes to Hong Kong’s scattered patchwork harbourfront.

How cool would it be to be able to walk, bike or run all the way from Sheung Wan to Kowloon Bay and back again without having to cross a busy street, hop in a taxi or ingest a bucket full of car fumes?

To realise Hong Kong’s harbourfront potential, bureaus must rid the silo mentality

Hong Kong is filled with a robust running community who would greatly benefit from a potential upgrade. Maybe we should take some advice from Vancouver, who recently poured millions of dollars into its iconic sea wall. Maybe those crafty Canadians are onto something outside of legalising marijuana?

I will cheer for upsets in the Uefa Champions League knockouts

There’s plenty of superstars and super clubs heading into this year’s Champions League round of 16, which kicks off in February. But how about cheering for some upsets and early exits from the favourites? Real Madrid have won four out of the last five, but have lost manager Zinedine Zidane and Cristiano Ronaldo and look less than stellar as of late. Maybe Ajax could play giant slayer?

Liverpool draw Bayern as United face PSG in Champions League last 16

There’s also a chance Ronaldo could see an early exit with his new team Juventus. Atlético Madrid currently sit second in La Liga behind Barcelona and have only conceded 12 goals in 17 matches of domestic play.

Led by French striker Antoine Griezmann, Diego Simeone’s were only bumped to second spot by Borussia Dortmund on goal difference .

Might be nice to see another name on the trophy this year not bought and paid for with dump trucks full of cash.

I will stop listening to everything that comes out of Conor McGregor’s and Floyd Mayweather’s mouths

Deep down we all love to hate characters like Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather. Call them notorious, infamous or villainous, they do generate headlines at an alarming rate.

But this may have been the year when the collective sporting community finally soured to their antics. Their much hyped fight last year, aptly titled The Biggest Fight in Combat Sports History, did not live up to expectations in the ring, but the match itself was almost an afterthought.

Conor McGregor has ‘zero chance’ of fighting in One Championship – even for US$1, says CEO Chatri Sityodtong

With McGregor losing soundly to Khabib Nurmagomedov and Mayweather not doing much other than getting into childish social media fights with the likes of 50 Cent this year, is it finally time to turn down the volume on these two?

Mayweather is 41 and McGregor looks more interested in selling his Irish whiskey than fighting. Maybe it’s time to hit mute on these two loudmouths, or find some new villains we can love to hate.

I will give Jon Jones another chance

There was a collective sigh that swept across the UFC community and its fan base when it was recently revealed that Jon Jones was having issues with drug testing again. Turns out Jones did not actually do anything wrong this time, which probably comes as a big surprise to a lot of people.

Now that the Band-Aid has been pulled off and everyone has had the chance to stomach the fact that UFC 232 will now take place in Los Angeles and not Las Vegas, let’s maybe focus on the fights and not the controversy.

Jon Jones the ‘snitch’ cleared by Usada in time for Madison Square Garden – it’s a shameful double standard from UFC

If not for his poor life skills, Jones would probably be regarded as the greatest MMA fighter of his generation. His combat skills are unparallel as he has dispatched some of the sports biggest names in convincing fashion including Daniel Cormier, Lyoto Machida and Quinton Jackson, dating back to 2011.

He is now 31 and probably only has a few more prime fighting years left, so maybe we can just put his urine samples in a lockbox somewhere, or give them to the Russians for “testing”?

I will cheer for Japan at this year’s Rugby World Cup

This will be the first time the Rugby World Cup will be held in Asia. Japan has earned this right through years of cultivating an excellent grass roots rugby programme, and of course, their massive upset over South Africa in the 2015 edition, which was held in England.

Rugby World Cup dream is over: Brave Hong Kong fall to Canada in repechage do-or-die

Currently ranked 11th, their shots of winning the title are slim to none, but they could pull off another upset, this time maybe even in the knockout stage. Japan has gone all out in preparations for this tournament, and Yokohama Stadium is going to be a madhouse for the final game.

While it may not be an easy ask, watching Japan succeed only benefits the sport in the Asian region, and a rising tide does lift all boats. So, in 2019, how about swapping a Bauhinia flower for a cherry blossom come September for a few weeks?