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7 (slightly) alternative sporting events to try get to in 2017

There are alternatives to Cheltenham and the Super Bowl.

January

Africa Cup of Nations – 8 January-5 February – Gabon

Source: Armando Franca/AP/Press Association Images

THIS YEAR’S TOURNAMENT was due to be held in war-torn Libya but organisers moved it to Gabon in August 2014.

The hosts have been drawn in the same group as the tournaments least heralded team – Guinea-Bissau  – while defending champions Ivory Coast will expect to get out of a group containing DR Congo, Morocco and Togo.

February

IBSF World Championship – 13-26 February - Konigsee, Germany

Source: Natacha Pisarenko/AP/Press Association Images

Bobsleigh is not just for Christmas and Cool Runnings, and the World Championships of the sport take place in Konigsee in Germany after being moved from Sochi earlier this month.

If watching people go downhill at tremendous speed is your thing, the skeleton championships take place the same week in the same venue.

April

Marathon des Sables – 7-17 April – Sahara Desert, Morocco

Source: Marie Curie/Liz Scarff/PA Archive/PA Images

The infamous ‘marathon of the sands’ takes place over 251km and six days and is widely considered one of the toughest foot races in the world.

Possibly more for participants than spectators, at least you could say you were there.

June

Belmont Stakes – 10 June — New York, United States

Source: Peter Morgan/AP/Press Association Images

Sure the Kentucky Derby gets all the headlines, but if a horse wants to win the coveted US Triple Crown, the final — and toughest — leg comes at the Belmont Stakes.

Knowns as ‘The Test of the Champion’ the race is run over 1.5 miles and, by the time the 2017 edition comes around, will be 150 years old.

August

Solheim Cup – 18-20 August – Iowa, United States

Source: Jens Meyer/AP/Press Association Images

The United States will look to defend their title for the first time since 2009 when they take on Europe in Des Moines Golf and Country Club.

Billed most exciting event in women’s professional golf Europe will look to wrestle back the trophy they lost in Germany in 2017.

October

Rugby League World Cup – 26 October-2 December - Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea

Source: Jon Super/AP/Press Association Images

Another sporting event that gives you the opportunity to travel and maybe even catch-up with relatives Down Under.

Ireland qualified for just their second-ever Rugby League World Cup by winning European Qualifying Group 2.

November

Grey Cup – 27 November – Ottawa, Canada

Source: CFL Time/YouTube

There are a number of lessons that the NFL could learn from Canadian football and the Grey Cup is a much cheaper alternative to the Super Bowl.

Give it a go, it’s bonkers but it’s fun.

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