Dubai Sports Council (DSC) has announced many of the world’s leading sports stars will be joining Expo 2020 Dubai to promote their countries on the global stage and participate in numerous sporting events organised throughout the next six months.
DSC, along with its partners, has collaborated with Expo 2020 to organise several sporting activities and events on the sidelines of the first World Expo to be held in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia region, which kicks off on October 1.
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The Council said that the 16th Dubai International Sports Conference (DISC) — a Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiative — and the Dubai Globe Soccer Awards will take place during Expo 2020. One of football’s main brainstorming platforms, DISC will bring the sport’s top names together to discuss challenges facing the ever-evolving world of football and deliberate ways to develop and enrich the sport at the domestic, regional and international level.
Since its launch in 2006, DISC has welcomed more than 400 international and national speakers and moderators, including some of the biggest names in football such as Cristiano Ronaldo, Expo 2020 ambassador Lionel Messi, Zinedine Zidane and the late Diego Maradona.
DSC has also confirmed that the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Creative Sports Award ceremony will also take place at Expo 2020 on 9 January, 2022.
The MBR Creative Sports Award is one of the leading initiatives of its kind in the world in terms of categories and prize money. The 11th edition of the Award will see Emirati and Arab heroes from the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games being honoured at the Awards ceremony.
A number of other events will take place at Expo 2020, including the FIDE World Chess Championship 2021, which will see reigning world champion Magnus Carlsen battle challenger Ian Nepomniachtchi, between November 24 and December 16, to keep his crown. The Hamdan Bin Rashid Masters international chess championship will be held concurrently at the same venue.
The Expo 2020 Run takes place on November 19, giving participants the unique opportunity to run on a course that snakes its way through the Expo 2020 districts and around different Country Pavilions. ‘Run the World’ community running events will take place every Saturday morning around Expo’s Ghaf Avenue, with complimentary participation open to all Expo 2020 visitors. Expo 2020 will also take centre stage on February 25 when top international cycling teams and riders of the UCI World Tour head to Expo 2020 for the Dubai stage of the tour.
Aside from the official competitions, visitors to Expo 2020 can take part in their favourite sport at facilities across the Expo site including basketball, volleyball, tennis and netball, cricket nets, five-a-side along with sports workshops, and events for People of Determination.
The countries participating in Expo 2020 have also organised a number of sports-related events at the Sports, Fitness and Well-being Hub, with highlights including Croatia bringing in football superstars — Real Madrid’s Luka Modric and Davor Suker.
The Football Legends Championship, courtesy of the Nigeria Pavilion, will allow fans the opportunity to meet players like Jay-Jay Okocha, Nwankwo Kanu and John Obi Mikel.
World heavyweight boxing champion Anthony Joshua of the United Kingdom is also going to make an appearance.
The Senegal Pavilion will host events to promote the Dakar 2026 Summer Youth Olympic Games — the first International Olympic Committee event to be held in Africa.
Dubai will also host more than 30 international sports events during Expo 2020 across the emirate, including the men’s and women’s Rugby World Cup qualifiers in October and November, cricket’s Twenty20 World Cup, and the European Tour’s Race to Dubai finale, the DP World Tour Championship.
Under the theme ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’ and featuring 191 Country Pavilions, Expo 2020 is expected to attract 25 million visitors.