Weekly sports agenda: NBA Playoffs, World Twenty20 cricket, Gumball 3000 road race

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The Independent Online

Among major upcoming sporting events, the NBA Playoffs move into the Conference Semifinals stage, the World Twenty20 cricket tournament gets off to a flying start, and the rich and famous Gumball 3000 road rally.

Intellectual: World Sudoku Championship
April 29 - May 2
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

Now in its fifth year, competitors at the World Sudoku Championship are chosen to represent their country by their nationally approved World Puzzle Federation organization, listed on the World Puzzle website. A slew of Sudoku puzzles await them, with individual and team rounds taking place on April 30 and May 1, thematically linked to the Olympic Decathlon and ensuring a challenge for the most veteran Sudoku masters.

Historic Grand Prix of Monaco
May 1 - 2
Monte Carlo, Monaco

Using the same route as the official Formula 1 track, the Historic Grand Prix offers a somewhat gentler race around the streets of Monaco. Multiple races are held with vehicles registered between 1947 and 1984.

MotoGP: Spanish Grand Prix
May 2
Jerez de la Frontera, Spain

After the Japanese Grand Prix, MotoGP sheds its usual fortnightly schedule and immediately sets up camp in southern Spain for the third meet of the season. Weekend passes bought via the MotoGP website start at €63/$75 for general admission and go up to €107/$128 in the best grandstand. Tickets are also available from the Circuito de Jerez' own site.
http://www.motogp.com or http://www.circuitodejerez.com

Basketball: NBA Playoffs Second Round
From May 3 onwards
Various locations, USA

Among the teams making it through to the Conference Semifinals from the Western Conference, the San Antonio Spurs' experienced side have recovered from an injury-ravaged season and are picking up steam. Meanwhile in the East, the young talents of the Milwaukee Bucks are poised to best the Atlanta Hawks, pulling back a 2-0 series deficit and sat 3-2 before the weekend's conclusive games. US national TV coverage of the playoffs has been split between ABC, ESPN, TNT, and NBA TV.

Intellectual: FIDE World Chess Championship 2010
Games 6 to 11 of a scheduled 12
May 1, 3, 4, 6, 7, 9
Sofia, Bulgaria

World number four Veselin Topalov, FIDE World Champion 2005-2006, goes head-to-head with number two and current reigning world champion Vishy Anand for the €2 million prize. The WCC 2010 games will be broadcast live from the competition's official website, all matches start at 12:00 UTC (15:00 local time).

Sailing: Fireball World Championships
April 24 - May 7

These small, agile sailboats with 16ft length boats and three panelled hulls, are at their stablest when in motion and their highly adjustable rigging means that despite their size, they offer a high degree of customization to crews. Passes to the surrounding social events are also avaiable to non-sailors at £95 (€110) for adults, £55 (€65) for juniors and free for chidren.

Cricket: ICC World Twenty20
April 30 - May 16
Various locations, West Indies

Zimbabwe, Afghanistan, and Ireland join the world's nine top seeded teams on the West Indian islands of Barbados, Guyana, and St Lucia, and St.Kitts & Nevis to contest the Twenty20 title over a series of short matches. After a week of warm-up games, the Super 8s' knock-out stage starts on May 6, building up to the climactic semi finals on May 13 and then the final on May 17. Sky Sports and the BBC cover the competition in the UK and Ireland, Eurosport in mainland Europe, ESPN in Asia and India, while Fox and Sky also have Australsia. Canadian and Afghani viewers can catch the matches on ATN (Asian / Afghani Television Network respectively).

Motorsport: Gumball 3000
May 1-7
London, UK - New York, USA

The Gumball motor rally travels 3000 km from London to New York, via the European cities of Amsterdam, Copenhagen, and Stockholm, before flying over the Atlantic and continuing the seven day tour through Quebec City and Toronto. The rally is well known for attracting wealthy and famous participants: Idris Elba (Stringer Bell from The Wire), David Hasslehoff (Knight Rider, Baywatch) skateboarder Tony Hawk, Mick Jagger's daughter Jade, and hip-hop and rap artists Dizzee Rascal, Eve, Xzibit and Cypress Hill's DJ Muggs are all confirmed for 2010. Most of them will be in expensive supercars done up in Gumball livery, though it's not uncommon to see more diminutive vehicles such as Elba's Mini Cooper.

MotoGP: Spanish Grand Prix
May 2
Jerez de la Frontera, Spain

After the Japanese Grand Prix, MotoGP sheds its usual fortnightly schedule and immediately sets up camp in southern Spain for the third meet of the season. Weekend passes bought via the MotoGP website start at €63/$75 for general admission and go up to €107/$128 in the best grandstand. Tickets are also available from the Circuito de Jerez' own site.
http://www.motogp.com or http://www.circuitodejerez.com

Formula One: Spanish Grand Prix
May 9
Barcelona, Spain

A week after MotoGP burns rubber near the southwestern Spanish city of Jerez, Formula One's dignitaries and heroes return upon the Circuit de Catalunya in the country's capital, Barcelona, the site of the last pre-season testing before the championship begun with the Bahrain GP in March. Schumacher has won the GP six times, three more than the next closest multiple winners, and none of whom are still racing. Three day grandstand passes run from €411 to €629.
http://www.circuitcat.com or http://www.formula1.com/tickets_and_travel

Football: UEFA Europa League Final
May 12
Hamburg, Germany

The first Europa League Final will take place in the home stadium of Hamburger SV, the HSH Nordbank Arena which is to be renamed Hamburg Arena for the event. Following spirited displays during the semi finals on Thursday April 29, Fulham from London, England, face Athletico Madrid of Spain. Among TV channels broadcasting the clash, ITV & Five have coverage in the UK, Gol TV in the USA, ESPN Star Sports in Asia, and Italia 1, SAT.1, and Sky Sports in Europe.

Sports Industry Awards
May 13
London, England

Hosted by the Sports Industry Group, the fourteen awards are called 'the Oscars of the sports world' by British newspapers The Observer and The Times. Though the Gold and Diamond packages have now sold out, the standard £3,995 (€4,565) deal includes a three-course dinner, champagne reception, complimentary drinks, and a table at the ceremony for ten persons. Individual seats at mixed tables are also available.

Red Bull X-Fighters World Tour
May 14
Giza, Egypt

The historic Egyptian pyramids welcome the freestyle motocross tricksters of the X-Fighters World Tour for the second of six global events. Six miles to the north of Cairo, the five FMX riders will showcase their skills in front of the Great Sphinx for the assembled crowds. Tickets are 75 EGP (€10) for those standing, or 150 EGP (€20) for a seated view.

Endurance: Tel Aviv Marathon
May 14
Tel Aviv, Israel

With shorter 5km and 10km runs available, and a winner's prize fund of $4,500 for both male and female participants, the Tel Aviv marathon traces a route along the Israeli coastline before cutting through the city beside the Yarkon River and back out again. Originally scheduled for the Jewish Passover festival, the marathon's final dates allow the event to both start and finish in the city's Charles Clore Park.

Athletics: 24th IAAF World Race Walking Cup
May 15-16
Chihuahua, Mexico

Expect average temperatures of 21°C at an altitude of 1,440m for the Mens and Womens 20km, and the Mens 50km World Race Walking Cup. There are also races for Juniors (must be aged 16-19 on December 31 2010). Top athletes will be covering the distances in less than 2 hours, or under 5 hours for the longer course. Prizes of up to $30,000 await the world's best race walkers.

Ball sports: Bossaball European Indoor Championship 2010
May 15-16
Roggel, Netherlands

Imagine a cross between volleyball, trampolining, and gymnastics. In the middle of an inflatable court, one player stands on a trampoline while teammates set up spiking opportunities for the high flier as they endeavour to beat the opposing team. The European Championships bring together teams from around the continent, following a pre-selection tournament that takes place on May 8.

Formula One: Monaco Grand Prix
May 16
Monte Carlo, Monaco

Arguably the most prestigious race in the motoring calendar, the Monaco Grand Prix pits Formula One drivers against the narrow roads and tight turns of Monte Carlo, as well as against each other. A win for Michael Schumacher will bring him level with the late Ayrton Senna, who holds the record for the most wins on the circuit.

IFPA7 World Pinball Championship
May 21-23
Cokato, Minnesota, USA

A prize fund of $13,000 tempts pinball wizards to Minnesota's Pinball Hall of Fame to ply their trade on a collection of 48 machines, ranging from pre-1978 electro-mechanical tables through the solid state electronic technologies of the 80's, right up to the modern dot-matrix era.

Watersports: Loews Coronado Bay Resort Dog Surfing Competition
May 22
Imperial Beach, CA, USA

Dog surfing returns to Loews in this battle of both style and substance, as canine mount up on water-bound boards to raise money for charitable causes - this year, for their fellow fidos in the San Diego Police Department - and each waverider has 10 minutes to strut their stuff. Entry costs are $50-$55.

Football: UEFA Champions League Final
May 22
Madrid, Spain

Bayern Munich play Internazionale at the Bernabeu, Real Madrid's home ground. Bayern thumped Lyon 4-0 over two legs to get to the final, also scoring four against Manchester United in the quarter finals over a challenging pair of matches that was decided on away goals. Bayern last won the tournament in 2001 while their coach Louis van Gaal clinched it in 1995 with Ajax. Inter, meanwhile, have the enigmatic Jose Mourinho at the helm who claimed the trophy in 2004 with giant-killers Porto and masterminded the Italian side's domination of 2009 winners Barcalona.

Rugby Union: Sevens World Series
May 22-23
London, UK

The penultimate stage of the IRB Sevens arrives in England in what the organizers hope will be a world record crowd, aiming for over 100,000 spectators crammed into the stadium at Twickenham to watch the twelve core teams (Samoa, New Zealand, Fiji, Australia, England, South Africa, Kenya, Argentina, USA, Wales, Canada, and France) play each other and four guests (Portugal, Italy, Russia, and Scotland) over a bevy of short matches. Tickets are between £10 (€11.5) and £25 (€29) for adults with discounts for juniors and groups.