A guide to the major sports events of 2019

As we enter the new year, here are the major championships you can't miss in 2019.

We have now waved goodbye to the Olympic year of 2018, which saw Marit Bjoergen become the most-decorated winter Olympian at PyeongChang 2018 as well as the introduction of sport climbing and skateboarding at Buenos Aires 2018.

With the new sporting year upon us, we take a look ahead at the spread of sporting action that awaits.

There are world championships in nearly every Olympic sport, as well as continental Games. Those include the second European Games, the African Games, and the Pan-American Games.

Here is a sport-by-sport guide of what to look forward to in 2019.

Winter sports

All 15 Olympic winter sports disciplines hold their world championships early in the year, towards the end of the 2018/19 seasons.

The bobsleigh and skeleton, freestyle skiing and snowboarding, and Nordic skiing (cross-country, Nordic combined and ski jumping) world championships are each held together.

Here's when to follow those events.

Alpine skiing

What? FIS Alpine World Ski Championships

Where? Åre, Sweden

When? 5–17 February 2019

Åre beat out the 1956 Olympic host city of Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy, for the right to host the event this year.


What? IBU Biathlon World Championships

Where? Östersund, Sweden

When? 7–17 March 2019

This will be the first world championships since 1993 not to involve eight-time Olympic champion Ole Einar Bjørndalen, who retired in April.

Bobsleigh and Skeleton

What? IBSF World Championships

Where? Whistler, British Columbia, Canada

When? 1–9 March 2019

The championships will take place at the Vancouver 2010 Olympic track in Whistler, which is considered the fastest sliding track in the world.

Cross-country skiing, Nordic combined, and Ski jumping

What? FIS Nordic World Ski Championships

Where? Seefeld-in-Tirol, Austria

When? 20 February–3 March 2019

The resort of Seefeld last hosted the Nordic World Ski Championships in 1985. Ski jumping competitions will take place in Innsbruck at Bergisel, which also hosted the Olympic ski jumping events in 1964 and 1976.

Curling (men's)

What? World Men's Curling Championship

Where? Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada

When? 30 March–7 April 2019

Curling (women's)

What? World Women's Curling Championship

Where? Silkeborg, Denmark

When? 16–24 March 2019

Canada usually alternates between hosting a world men's and a world women's championship every year.

Curling (mixed doubles)

What? World Mixed Doubles Curling Championship

Where? Stavanger, Norway

When? 20–27 April 2019

Figure skating

What? ISU World Figure Skating Championships

Where? Saitama, Japan

When? 18–24 March 2019

While European skaters compete in the European Championships (Minsk, Belarus; 21–27 January), skaters from the other continents come together to compete in the Four Continents Championships (Anaheim, California, USA; 4–10 February) as their equivalent continental competition. This year's European Championships are set to be the last professional competition for Olympic bronze medallist Javier Fernandez.

Freestyle skiing and Snowboarding

What? FIS Freestyle Ski and Snowboarding World Championships

Where? Park City, Utah, USA and other resorts in Utah

When? 1–10 February 2019

The world championships for freestyle skiing and snowboarding were separate until 2013. They were merged for the first time in 2015.

Ice hockey (men's)

What? IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship

Where? Bratislava and Kosice, Slovakia

When? 10–26 May 2019

Great Britain, Olympic ice hockey champions in 1936, will play in the top-flight world championship for the first time since 1994.

Ice hockey (women's)

What? IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship

Where? Espoo, Finland

When? 4–14 April 2019

There will be ten teams competing in Espoo, the largest top-division women's world championship since the tournament began in 1990.


What? FIL World Championships

Where? Winterberg, Germany

When? 25–27 January 2019

Short track speed skating

What? ISU World Short Track Speed Skating Championships

Where? Sofia, Bulgaria

When? 8–10 March 2019

It is 20 years since Sofia first hosted the Championships in 1999. The Bulgarian capital also staged the event in 2010.

Speed skating

What? ISU World Single Distances Speed Skating Championships

Where? Inzell, Germany

When? 7–10 February 2019

The Single Distances Championships replicate the format of the Olympic Games, with medals awarded in each event. The ISU also organises the World Sprint Speed Skating Championships (Heerenveen, Netherlands; 23–24 February), which comprise of an overall score after two 500m and two 1000m races, and the World Allround Speed Skating Championships (Calgary, Alberta, Canada; 2–3 March), where skaters race in four individual disciplines but have their results count towards an overall score.

Summer sports

With Tokyo 2020 now just a year and a half away, many major competitions in summer sports this year also serve as Olympic qualification events as athletes and teams start to focus on the Games.

The action begins as early as 8 January, when the last 2018 world championship takes place in street skateboarding.

There are no world championship events in women's basketball, equestrian, field hockey, individual golf, karate, women's softball, and indoor volleyball this year.

But here's when you can catch all the action in other sports...

Aquatics (Artistic swimming, Diving, Swimming, and Water polo)

What? FINA World Aquatics Championships

Where? Gwangju, South Korea

When? 12–28 July 2019

Artistic swimming was formerly known as synchronised swimming. This year's World Aquatics Championships act as an Olympic qualifier in artistic swimming, diving, and water polo, but not in swimming, where qualifying for the Olympic Games is based on achieving a set time.


What? World Archery Championships

Where? 's-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands

When? 10–16 June 2019

The 2019 World Archery Championships will see the best eight teams in each gender qualify for Tokyo 2020. The three members from each qualified team also qualify for the individual competition. The best four archers in each gender who don't qualify through the team competition will also earn their berths to Japan.


What? IAAF World Athletics Championships

Where? Doha, Qatar

When? 27 September–6 October 2019

The Olympic qualification system for athletics has changed for 2020, with the introduction of the IAAF's new world rankings. Athletes' performances at the World Athletics Championships in Doha will count towards those rankings, while the best eight teams in each relay event will also book their flights to Tokyo.


What? BWF Badminton World Championships

Where? Basel, Switzerland

When? 19–25 August 2019

Switzerland last hosted the Badminton World Championships in 1995, when the Olympic capital of Lausanne was host city. However, qualification for Tokyo is not on the line as badminton qualifiers will be determined using the BWF World Rankings.


What? WBSC Premier12

Where? The finals will be held in Tokyo, Japan.

When? 2–17 November 2019; finals begin 11 November

While there is no women's softball world championship this year, the WBSC's top international men's baseball competition, the Premier12, will be held in South Korea, Chinese Taipei, Mexico, and Japan. Two teams will qualify for the Olympic Games.

Take a look at the Tokyo 2020 venue in this Tsunami-devastated region

Take a look at the Tokyo 2020 venue in this Tsunami-devastated region


What? FIBA Basketball World Cup

Where? China

When? 31 August–15 September 2019

Seven men's teams will qualify for Tokyo 2020 through their performances in this year's Basketball World Cup. There is no women's tournament in 2019; the United States qualified for the Olympic Games by winning the 2018 Women's Basketball World Cup.

Basketball 3×3

What? FIBA 3x3 World Cup

Where? Amsterdam, Netherlands

When? 18–23 June 2019

There is no direct qualification from this tournament to Tokyo 2020, but the three best teams in each event at the 3×3 World Cup will book their spots at the final Olympic Games Qualifying Tournament.


What? AIBA World Boxing Championships

Where? Sochi, Russia

When? 7–21 September 2019

The Olympic qualification pathway in boxing has yet to be confirmed.

Canoe slalom

What? ICF Canoe Slalom World Championships

Where? La Seu d'Urgell, Spain

When? 25–29 September 2019

A total of 58 Olympic places across the four events in this discipline will be up for grabs when the Canoe Slalom World Championships visit the Spanish town of La Seu d'Urgell, near the Andorran border. The Parc Olímpic del Segre, where competition will take place, also hosted canoe slalom events at the Barcelona 1992 Olympic Games.

Canoe sprint

What? ICF Canoe Sprint World Championships

Where? Szeged, Hungary

When? 21–25 August 2019

Just as it did eight years ago in 2011, the Hungarian city of Szeged will welcome top sprint canoeists to the Canoe Sprint World Championships as they attempt to qualify for an Olympic Games. Qualification for Tokyo is awarded both individually and by boats.

Cycling – BMX freestyle

What? UCI Urban Cycling World Championships

Where? Host city to be confirmed, but the UCI has an agreement to hold the event in China.

When? To be confirmed

Two BMX freestylers per gender will qualify for the first ever appearance of their event at an Olympic Games via the Urban Cycling World Championships.

Cycling – BMX racing

What? UCI BMX World Championships

Where? Heusden-Zolder, Belgium

When? 23–28 July 2019

No Olympic qualifying spots are on offer at this year's BMX World Championships in Belgium. Two spots per gender will be available through next year's Championships, however.

Cycling – Mountain bike

What? UCI Mountain Bike World Championships

Where? Mont-Sainte-Anne, Quebec, Canada

When? 28 August–11 September

Eight athletes will punch their ticket to Japan at the Mountain Bike World Championships in the cross-country event.

Cycling – Road

What? UCI Road World Championships

Where? Yorkshire, Great Britain

When? 22–29 September

The UCI Road World Championships visit the northern English region of Yorkshire in September, centred around the town of Harrogate. A total of 20 athletes, 10 in each elite individual road race, will qualify for Tokyo 2020.

Cycling – Track

What? UCI Track World Championships

Where? Pruszkow, Poland

When? 27 February–3 March 2019

There is no direct qualification to Tokyo 2020 for athletes at the Track World Championships, who will be hoping to score points towards their UCI Olympic qualification ranking.


What? FIE World Fencing Championships

Where? Budapest, Hungary

When? 15–23 July 2019


What? FIFA Women's World Cup

Where? France

When? 7 June–7 July 2019

The top three European teams at the Women's World Cup in June will qualify for Tokyo 2020. The four British football associations, representing England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland, have agreed to send a Great Britain women's team to Japan if England finish the competition as one of the three qualifiers.

Gymnastics – Artistic

What? FIG World Artistic Gymnastics Championships

Where? Stuttgart, Germany

When? 4–13 October 2019

Three teams have already qualified in each gender for the team all-around at Tokyo 2020 from the 2018 world championships. At the 2019 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships, a further nine teams per gender will seal their spots, while individual quota places will also be awarded.

Gymnastics – Rhythmic

What? FIG Rhythmic Gymnastics World Championships

Where? Baku, Azerbaijan

When? 16–22 September 2019

Five teams and 16 individuals will confirm their places in Tokyo at the Rhythmic Gymnastics World Championships.

Gymnastics – Trampoline

What? FIG Trampoline Gymnastics World Championships

Where? Tokyo, Japan

When? 28 November–1 December 2019

Just months ahead of the Olympics, the world's best trampoline gymnasts will be in Tokyo for the Trampoline Gymnastics World Championships, which will double as the test event for the Olympic Games. Eight gymnasts per gender will qualify for the Games.

Handball (men's)

What? IHF World Men's Handball Championship

Where? Denmark and Germany

When? 10–27 January 2019

A unified Korean team will represent North and South Korea at the World Men's Handball Championship this month, building on warming sporting relations first achieved at PyeongChang 2018. The world champion team will qualify for Tokyo 2020.

Read the Olympic Channel's preview of the World Men's Handball Championship here.

Handball (women's)

What? IHF World Women's Handball Championship

Where? Japan

When? 30 November–15 December 2019

One qualifying spot is on offer at the World Women's Handball Championship at the end of the year.


What? IJF World Judo Championships

Where? Tokyo, Japan

When? 25 August–1 September 2019

Judokas at the World Judo Championships will get an early peek at how preparations are going for the Olympic Games, as this year's championships will double as the test event for next year's big spectacle.

Modern pentathlon

What? UIPM Pentathlon World Championships

Where? Budapest, Hundary

When? 2–9 September 2019

Three athletes per gender qualify from the Modern Pentathlon World Championships for Tokyo 2020. The UIPM 2019 World Cup Final (27 June) in Tokyo will be the Olympic Games test event.


What? World Rowing Championships

Where? Linz-Ottensheim, Austria

When? 25 August–1 September 2019

Rugby Sevens

You can read the Olympic Channel's preview of the World Rugby Sevens Series here.

Four teams per gender will qualify from the World Sevens Series and World Women's Sevens Series for Tokyo 2020.


After the combined world championships in 2018, each sailing class will hold its own individual world championship in 2019.

The Laser World Championship and Women's Laser Radial World Championship take place in Japan in July; the 470 World Championships are in Japan the month later; the RS:X Windsurfing World Championships in Italy in September; the Nacra 17 World Championship and 49er/49er FX World Championships in New Zealand begin in November; and the Finn Gold Cup will be held in Melbourne, Australia, in December.

Olympic Games places are on offer at each event.


What? ISSF World Championship Shotgun

Where? Lonato, Italy

When? 30 June–10 July 2019

This shotgun-only event (trap, double trap, skeet) has no Olympic berths on offer.


What? 2018 World Skate World Championships of Street Skateboarding

Where? Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

When? 8–13 January 2019

The final World Championship of 2018 takes place at the start of January 2019, and while there are no direct Olympic qualifying spots on offer at the World Championships of Street Skateboarding, this will be the first event in the Olympic qualifying window. Skaters will score points towards a qualifying ranking, which will be used to determine final qualifiers. The 2019 championships have not yet been confirmed.

Sport climbing

What? IFSC Combined World Championships

Where? Tokyo, Japan

When? 20–21 August 2019

Although not officially an Olympic test event, this year's Sport Climbing Combined World Championships will take place in the Japanese capital in August. Seven athletes per gender will qualify for the Olympic Games next year.


What? ISA World Surfing Games

Where? Miyazaki, Japan

When? 7–15 September 2019

The highest-placed athlete from each continent in each gender at the World Surfing Games will secure a quota spot for Tokyo 2020. The top 10 men and top eight women on this year's World Surf League Championship Tour, which starts in Gold Coast, Australia, in April will also qualify. Surfers on the WSL CT must compete at either the 2019 or 2020 World Surfing Games to be eligible for Olympic qualification through the WSL.

Table tennis

What? ITTF World Table Tennis Championships

Where? Budapest, Hungary

When? 21–28 April 2019


What? World Taekwondo Championships

Where? Manchester, Great Britain

When? 15–19 May 2019

There is no direct qualification to Tokyo 2020 available at the World Taekwondo Championships, but athletes can score points towards their World Taekwondo Olympic qualification ranking.

Tennis (men's)

What? Davis Cup Finals

Where? Madrid, Spain

When? 18–24 November 2019

This year sees the first edition of the Davis Cup in its new single tournament format held over a week. While tennis players qualify through the world rankings, they must make themselves available for selection in the Davis Cup to be eligible for Olympic selection.

Tennis (women's)

The same is true in women's tennis, where qualified players must have made themselves available for Fed Cup selection to be eligible to play at Tokyo 2020. The format of the Fed Cup World Group has not changed, and it will take place as a straight knockout tournament with the final from 9–10 November.


What? ITU Triathlon World Series

Where? Various locations

When? Throughout the year

While the triathletes cannot directly qualify from the Triathlon World Series for Tokyo 2020, they can accrue points towards the ITU's Olympic Qualification Ranking. A mixed relay World Series race in Tokyo in August acts as the sport's test event.

Volleyball (beach)

What? FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships

Where? Hamburg, Germany

When? 28 June–1 July 2019

The world champion in each gender will book their spot for Tokyo 2020.

Volleyball (indoor)

There is no world championship in indoor volleyball this year, but the Volleyball Men's World Cup (1–15 October) and Volleyball Women's World Cup (14–29 September) will be held in Japan, as it is every pre-Olympic year. That should provide a few clues as to the form teams ahead of next year's Games.


What? IWF World Weightlifting Championships

Where? Pattaya, Thailand

When? 16–25 September 2019


What? UWW Wrestling World Championships

Where? Astana, Kazakhstan

When? 14–22 September 2019

Six athletes in each event will gain an Olympic spot at the Wrestling World Championships in September.

Multi-sport events

African Games

Where? Casablanca and Rabat, Morocco

When? 23 August–9 September 2019

The first All-Africa Games took place in Brazzaville, Republic of Congo, in 1965.

European Games

Where? Minsk, Belarus

When? 21–30 June 2019

The athletics programme will include, for the first time, a mixed-gender team format called 'Dynamic New Athletics'.

Pan-American Games

Where? Lima, Peru

When? 26 July–11 August 2019

The sporting programme includes the non-Olympic sport of bodybuilding.

Pacific Games

Where? Samoa

When? 7–20 July 2019

Australia and New Zealand only made their Pacific Games debuts in 2015. The Pacific Games are not an official continental Games, and therefore provide no Olympic qualification berths.

Don't forget to follow the Olympic Channel throughout the year for the latest news and highlights from your favourite sports.

Enjoyed this story? Like it or share it with your friends!