The death of Queen Elizabeth II and the Russian invasion of Ukraine were perhaps the two biggest events of 2022. Both were unforeseen, as has always been the case with many of the world’s climactic moments. But, among the major events of 2023 is one that is already known — the history-defining moment of the coronation of King Charles III.
The coronation would be the first of a British monarch in the 21st century. As such, it would be the first such event that the generations born after 2 June 1953 will see in their lives. But apart from the coronation, there are several other major political, cultural and sporting events in the pipeline.
Some of these events are to be held in Asia. Among them are the Thailand general elections, the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup in India, and the 19th Asian Games which was postponed from 2022.
The four tennis Grand Slams may also be an emotional watch for many as 2023 is the first calendar year in the sport after the retirement of Roger Federer and Serena Williams. All eyes are to be on Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal, and their respective quests for more Grand Slam trophies.
Here are some of the major sporting, cultural and political events in 2023
16-29 January: Australian Open
The first major sporting event of the year, the 2023 Australian Open in Melbourne would be a highly anticipated tournament. It is the first Grand Slam to be held after the retirement of tennis great Roger Federer, whose final tournament was the 2022 Laver Cup in September.
The fiercest competition is in the women’s singles event. Polish tennis player and world no.1 Iga Świątek will be looking to win her first Australian Open title, having ended her run at the semi-finals in the 2022 edition.
Seeded 1st in the draw for 2023, the three-time Grand Slam winner has some tough competition. There are 11 other current or former Grand Slam champions participating at the tournament. These include Victoria Azarenka, Naomi Osaka and Sofia Kenin — all of whom have previously won the tournament. Former finalists Petra Kvitová, Danielle Collins and Garbiñe Muguruza are also in the draw.
The most notable name missing will be 2022’s champion Ashleigh Barty, who retired from the sport three months after winning the tournament.
And then there is Ons Jabeur of Tunisia, who is seeded 2nd in the 2023 draw. Jabeur was the runner-up at both the 2022 US Open and the 2022 Wimbledon Championships.
Focus will also be on the men’s single event. Tennis great Nadal, who is world no.2 and seeded 2nd in the draw, will be aiming to further increase his Grand Slam men’s singles tally to 23. But given his recent injury problems and the fact that Serbia’s Djokovic, his greatest rival after Federer, is participating in the tournament makes this an uphill battle for the Spaniard.
Djokovic is the undisputed emperor at the Australian Open men’s singles event having won it a record nine times. With 22 wins, he is right behind Nadal in the list of players with the most men’s singles Grand Slam titles. Nadal, on the other hand, won the Australian Open only twice in his career.
Interestingly, the Serbian was not allowed to participate in the tournament in 2022 because of his refusal to get vaccinated against COVID-19. Though he remains unvaccinated, Djokovic has been granted a visa this time.
The famous Rod Laver arena, where the tournament is played, will also be packed with promising young challengers in 2023. Chief of them is world no.1 Carlos Alcaraz of Spain, who is seeded 1st. Casper Ruud, Stefanos Tsitsipas, and 2022’s runner-up Daniil Medvedev are the other heavyweights who have a chance of preventing both Nadal and Djokovic from increasing their tally.
27 January: Disney 100 Years of Wonder celebrations
The Walt Disney Company was founded as Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio in 1923. The year 2023 therefore marks the centennial year of the company.
Another major event will be Disney’s 100 Years of Wonder celebrations will be held in all Disneyland theme parks around the world throughout the year 2023.
It will officially kick-off on 27 January at Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California, the US. Also known as the original Disneyland Park, the resort will sport a platinum décor throughout. Mickey and Minnie’s outfits as well as banners and buntings at the Sleeping Beauty Castle will be platinum.
There will be two new night-time events making their debut on the day at the park. One of them is Wondrous Journeys, showcasing all films by Walt Disney Animation Studios through projections and fireworks.
The other is World of Color – One, taking guests through the journey of Disney’s innovative storytelling. This new event will be held at the Disney California Adventure, which is right across the Esplanade from the main park.
On the same day, the new Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway attraction in Mickey’s Toontown at the park will be opened to the public. The rest of Mickey’s Toontown will open on 8 March 2023.
The Disney100: The Exhibition will be on a tour of the world starting with The Franklin Institute in Philadelphia on 18 February 2023. There will also be new collectible merchandise for fans of Disney.
6 May: Coronation of King Charles III and Camilla, Queen Consort
The coronation of King Charles III, the richest of all living members of the British royal family, will not only be one of the biggest events of 2023 but will also be among the most historic events of the century. It is the first coronation of a British monarch in the 21st century and the first since 1953 when Queen Elizabeth II was crowned.
King Charles III acceded to the throne following the death of the Queen on 8 September 2022. His wife, Camilla, will also be symbolically crowned as Queen Consort. She would thus become the first to be crowned since Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother in 1937.
The coronation is a symbolic ceremony and will be held at Westminster Abbey in London. Reports suggest that this major event in 2023, code named Operation Golden Orb, may likely be less grand than that of Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation. It will also see representations from a wide range of religions.
The St Edward’s Crown will be placed on King Charles III’s head by the Archbishop of Canterbury that would symbolically recognise him as the Sovereign. He will also be presented with the Royal Orb the Sceptre, and the Sovereign’s Sceptre marking his authority.
King Charles III will sit on the throne after the presentations are done and the crown will be placed on his head during the coronation ceremony.
It is not clear which crown will be placed on Camilla, the Queen Consort. But the one that was used for the coronation of Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, has the Koh-i-Noor diamond. The 105.6-carat gem, which is considered priceless, is also highly controversial. The diamond was seized by the British from a 10-year-old Maharaja Duleep Singh after they imprisoned his mother, Rani Jindan.
“In 1849, after imprisoning Jindan, the British forced Duleep to sign a legal document amending the Treaty of Lahore, that required Duleep to give away the Koh-i-Noor and all claim to sovereignty. The boy was only 10 years old,” notes Smithsonian Magazine.
Both India and Pakistan lay claim to the diamond. India has especially intensified calls for the return of the diamond. In October 2022, Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Arindam Bagchi told the media that the government “will continue to explore ways and means for obtaining a satisfactory resolution of the matter.”
The diamond was last seen in public in 2002 when the crown was placed atop the coffin of the Queen Mother.
7 May: 2023 Thailand general election
The Election Commission (EC) in Thailand had in September 2022 announced the date for the general elections in the country, provided the military-backed government of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha does not dissolve the current House of Representatives before the end of its four year term.
In case things go as planned in the deeply fractured and tense political situation in Thailand, candidates will be able to register from 3-7 April 2023 and advanced voting will be held on 30 April for those who cannot cast their votes on the main election day.
Prime Minister Chan-o-cha has been in power since he overthrew the government of former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra in 2014. He returned to power in the controversial 2019 general elections. He was briefly suspended in 2022 while the Constitutional Court weighed on whether he had exceeded the prime ministerial term limit of eight years. The Constitutional Court ruled that his term of office began in April 2017, when the new constitution came into effect.
As such, there are still two years left in Prime Minister Chan-o-cha’s political tenure as the head of the government of Thailand. And so, he is a contender in the 2023 elections.
Apart from Palang Pracharath Party that backs the Prime Minister, other major political parties in fray are the main opposition Pheu Thai Party, Move Forward Party (formerly Future Forward Party), Democrat Party and Bhumjaithai Party — all of whom currently have members in the 500-seat House of Representatives. Both Democratic Party and Bhumjaithai Party are part of the coalition government led by Palang Pracharath Party.
9-13 May: Eurovision Song Contest
The 67th edition of the Eurovision Song Contest will be held in Liverpool, the UK.
The 2022 contest, held in Turin, Italy, was won by Ukraine’s Kalush Orchestra. By tradition, the contest is held in the country which wins it the preceding year. But the Russian invasion of Ukraine has made it impossible for the event to be held in the country.
A total of 37 European countries, including Ukraine and host the UK, have confirmed they’ll take part in the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest. Bulgaria, Montenegro and North Macedonia are not participating.
The contest will be held at the Eurovision Village festival area located in and around Pier Head in Liverpool. The first semi-final will be held on 9 May followed by the second semi-final two days later. The grand final will be held on 13 May.
28 May – 11 June: French Open
Świątek will try to defend the title she won in 2022 at the Roland Garros in Paris by defeating American star Coco Gauff 6–1, 6–3. Should she win, it would be her third Grand Slam at the clay court. In all likelihood, most of the top stars at the 2023 Australian Open women’s singles will be in Paris to fight for French Open glory.
The attention, however, would specifically be on 14-time French Open champion Nadal, who also won the title in 2022. The ‘King of Clay,’ as the Spaniard is known, beat Norway’s Casper Ruud 6–3, 6–3, 6–0 in the final of the event in the previous edition. Ruud is world no.3 and was also the 2022 US Open finalist. He, therefore, remains the strongest contender after Nadal to win the trophy.
It is also noteworthy that while Rudd would only be 24 years old at the time, Nadal will be nearing 37. So, would he be able to enter the 2023 French Open?
“I don’t know, I can’t confirm or say,” Nadal had said about his return to the tournament after his 2022 win at French Open.
“Of course, I would love to keep coming but at the same time we need to find a solution for that because I can’t keep going the way that I am doing,” he said, referring to his fitness-related issues.
Djokovic is another of the strongest contenders at the tournament. Though he has won the title only two times — 2016 and 2021 — it would be the Serbian’s best opportunity to add a third especially if an injury-plagued Nadal gives it a miss.
3-16 July: Wimbledon
Of his seven Wimbledon titles, Djokovic has won the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in London twice in a row — 2021 and 2022. One more and he will equal Federer as the player with most men’s singles Wimbledon titles. He is, therefore, the one to look out for at the 2023 edition.
Djokovic defeated unseeded Nick Kyrgios of Australia 4–6, 6–3, 6–4, 7–6(7–3) to win the tournament in 2022. It is noteworthy that Kyrgios had a walkover in the semi-finals when his opponent, Nadal, was forced to pull out of the tournament due to injury.
In 2022, Elena Rybakina became the first Kazakhstani to win the Wimbledon women’s singles title. Both Rybakina and runner-up Jabeur will be the ones to watch out for at the 2023 edition. Also in contention could be former Wimbledon champion Simona Halep of Romania.
20 July – 20 August: 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup
One of the major significant sporting events of the year, the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup will be jointly co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand. A total of 32 teams from all six football confederations will be participating in the tournament.
Australia is a member of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) and New Zealand is a member of the Oceania Football Confederation (OFC). It is, therefore, the first time that a FIFA World Cup, men’s or women’s, is being hosted by countries of different confederations.
The first match will be played at Eden Park in Auckland and the final will be held at Stadium Australia in Sydney.
World no.1 the US, which has won the tournament four times, is the defending champion. In case the team wins the 2023 championship, it would become the first footballing nation to win a FIFA World Cup, men’s or women’s, three consecutive times. The Netherlands, Germany, England, Sweden and France are among the stronger challengers.
But, all eyes are sure to be on Brazil’s forward and captain Marta, who is her country’s all-time record scorer men or women with 115 goals. Widely hailed as the greatest female football player of all time, she also holds the record for most goals scored at FIFA World Cup tournaments, men or women, with 17.
28 August – 10 September: US Open
Like the 2022 Australian Open, the 2022 US Open also hit the headlines over Djokovic. The Serbian icon, who has won the tournament three times, was forced to withdraw reportedly because foreign citizens unvaccinated against COVID-19 were not allowed to enter the US.
“Sadly, I will not be able to travel to NY this time for the US Open,” Djokovic tweeted, adding that he would “keep in good shape and positive spirit and wait for an opportunity to compete again.”
It is not clear whether he will be allowed to enter the tournament held at Flushing Meadows in New York City. But if he does participate in the 2023 edition, the greatest challengers will be Alcaraz and Ruud, the 2022 champion and the runner-up, respectively.
Nadal, who was seeded 2nd at the 2022 tournament, crashed out in the fourth round.
Świątek finished 2022 by winning the US Open championship, defeating Jabeur in the final 6–2, 7–6(7–5). Her dominance on the hard court would be interesting especially if she is able to perform well in the other three Grand Slams of the year.
But this tournament will be remembered as the last with Serena Williams as a competitor. The American tennis legend — the most successful player, men or women, at Grand Slams — had before the tournament already announced that the US Open would be her last.
23 September – 8 October: 2022 Asian Games
The 2022 Asian Games was originally scheduled to be held in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, China, from 10-25 September 2022. The mega tournament was postponed in May 2022 due to China’s coronavirus crisis.
In July, the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) issued a new schedule, according to which the 19th edition of the Games was moved to 2023.
Players from Australia, New Zealand and other Oceania countries were also expected to be part of the tournament for the first time, following an offer from the OCA. But in April 2022, both Australia and New Zealand said they would not be sending athletes as none of the invited sports federations expressed interest.
China, the leader in the medals tally since the 1982 Asian Games, is hosting the tournament for the third time after Beijing in 1990 and Guangzhou in 2010.
While Hangzhou is the main host city, major events will also be held in the cities of Ningbo, Wenzhou, Huzhou, Shaoxing, Jinhua in Zhejiang in 2023.
A total of 61 sporting events will be held as part of the 2022 Asian Games. The sporting events are divided across four categories — Competitive Sports, Ball Sports, Adversary Sports and Water Sports. Two of the disciplines are E-sports and breakdancing — both of which will debut in the Asian Games at Hangzhou.
The 2022 Asian Games will be followed by the 2022 Asian Para Games, officially the IV Asian Para Games, from 22 October to 28 October, at Hangzhou.
October – 26 November: ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup
The 13th edition of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup is one of the major sporting events of 2023, especially for South Asian countries where cricket is the dominant sport.
In this major event in 2023 India will be the host of the men’s team tournament for the first time as solo. Previously, the tournament was co-hosted by India with other South Asian countries.
Played under the 50-over format, the World Cup will see defending champions England try to beat nine other qualifiers to become only the fourth nation to win it more than once and only the third to do so consecutive times.
India, Australia and Pakistan, all of them former champions, remain the most formidable challengers to England’s quest. But perhaps the biggest challenge will be from New Zealand, the world no.1 men’s cricket team and the 2019 finalist.
The format will be similar to the 2019 edition, where teams competed in a round-robin system before entering the knockout round.
20 October: 50th Anniversary of the Sydney Opera House
One of the world’s most famous landmarks and the most famous tourist destination in Australia, the Sydney Opera house was formally opened by Queen Elizabeth II on 20 October 1973.
It is today one of the busiest performing arts centres, with over 2000 shows every year attended by over 1.5 million people. The iconic building — a UNESCO World Heritage Site — is itself visited by over 8.2 million tourists every year.
In September 2022, the New South Wales government announced a year-long celebration marking the occasion. As part of it, several major events and programmes will be held at the Sydney Opera House through 2023.
Hero image: Courtesy Susan Kuriakose/susan_kuriakose/Unsplash; Featured image: Courtesy Royal Collection Trust/@RCT/Twitter
This story first appeared on Augustman Malaysia.