The World Comes to Play
Dubai to host over 30 international sports events during Expo
Dubai Sports Council, along with its partners, is collaborating with Expo 2020 on a number of sporting events planned throughout the six-month Expo 2020.
The Council has already confirmed that the 16th Dubai International Sports Conference (DISC) will take place on December 28 alongside Dubai Globe Soccer Awards.
DISC is one of football’s main brainstorming platforms, bringing football’s top stakeholders together to Dubai since 2006 for extensive discussions on challenges facing the ever-evolving world of football, as well as to deliberate on ways to develop and enrich the sport at the domestic, regional and international level.
The Council has also announced that the awards ceremony of the prestigious 11th Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Creative Sports Award will take place January 9, 2022.
Dubai Sports Council has also announced several other sports events that will be held during Expo 2020 Dubai. The FIDE World Chess Championship 2021 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.
The Council is also organising an exciting new cycling event, in cooperation with RCS Sport, on November 6. Thirty of the best professional riders from around the world, including four Giro d’Italia jersey winners, will line up for a spectacular competition called ‘Giro d’Italia Criterium’. The race will be broadcast live to more than 100 countries.
The Expo 2020 district will also take centre stage on February 25, 2022, when the top international cycling teams and riders of the UCI WorldTour come here for the Dubai stage of the 2022 UAE Tour, which is the only WorldTour race in the Middle East.
As big as it gets
Dubai will host more than 30 international sports events during Expo 2020, including the men’s and women’s Rugby World Cup qualifiers in October and November, and cricket’s Twenty20 World Cup between October 17 and November 14.
Tie Break Tens, an exciting short-form tennis format, will be making its debut in Dubai during the Expo —on October 22 at the Coca-Cola Arena — and feature top players like French entertainer Gael Monfils and British No 1 Dan Evans.
The top international players of women’s golf will battle for honours in the Omega Dubai Moonlight Classic on Emirates Golf Club’s Faldo Course from October 27-29.
Dubai’s golf enthusiasts will also be able to see Asia’s top amateurs in action at the 12th Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship, which will take place at the Dubai Creek Golf and Yacht Club from November 3-6.
The biggest treat for golf lovers will, however, follow later in the month when the top 60 from the European Tour’s ‘Race to Dubai’ leaderboard battle for one of golf’s biggest prize purse in the DP World Tour Championship, on Jumeirah Golf Estate’s Earth Course from November 18-21.
The world’s top beach soccer player will also be coming to Dubai this winter to compete for the Beach Soccer Intercontinental Cup – the sport’s most coveted trophy after the World Cup - from November 2-6.
Ski Dubai at the Mall of the Emirates will also be a busy venue, hosting the FIS Freestyle Ski Slopestyle competition on November 3-4, the FIS-ENL Alpine Slalom on November 10-11, and the Para Alpine Asian Cup – Slalom on November 10-11.
The 25th Karate World Championship – the first World Championship after Karate’s Olympic debut in Tokyo - will also be held in Dubai, from November 16-21, at the Hamdan Sports Complex, with over 1,100 competitors from more than 130 countries expected to participate.
The Emirates Dubai 7s, one of Dubai's most popular expatriate sports event, will take place twice in 2021 - on November 26-27 behind closed doors, and then with fans in attendance from December 2-4.
GovGames 2021 — one of the biggest events of its kind for government employees from around the world – will take place from December 9-11, while the Dubai CrossFit Championship is scheduled to take place from December 16-18 with 40 of the world’s biggest CrossFit stars – 20 males and 20 females - competing for a prize purse of more than AED1 million.
The gruelling IRONMAN 70.3 Dubai is scheduled for February 5, while the top stars of international tennis will head to Dubai to compete in the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championship that same month.
Then on March 26, the grandstands of Meydan will host the biggest celebration of horse racing in the world, the Dubai World Cup, with A-listers from the world of sports, entertainment and business in attendance.
Special events at Expo 2020
The countries participating in Expo 2020 have also organised a number of sports-related events that will take place at the 5,400sqm Sports, Fitness and Wellbeing Hub.
Australia, a proud sporting nation, has scheduled as many 59 events, while their trans-Transman rivals New Zealand will have sports events stretching across five weeks.
Croatia, meanwhile, will be bringing two of their top football stars, Real Madrid’s Luka Modric and Davor Suker, the current president of Croatian football federation, who also played for Real Madrid in his heydays and was the winner of the Golden Boot at the 1998 FIFA World Cup in France.
Zlatko Dalic, the former Al Ain coach who led Croatia to the final of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, will also make a presence at Croatian events, which will also feature two of their NBA stars – Dario Saric, who is currently on the rolls of Phoenix Suns, and Bojan Bogdanovic, who plays for Utah Jazz.
The Italian pavilion will organise fitness classes and different workshops, while the Hungarian pavilion will host a Teqball tournament and also present its program for the development of school sports. The Nigerian pavilion has organised a Football Legends Championship, which will allow fans an opportunity to meet players like Jay-Jay Okocha, Nwankwo Kanu and Mikel John Obi, as well as two-time unified world heavyweight boxing champion Anthony Joshua of Britain.
The Senegalese pavilion, meanwhile, will host events to promote the Dakar 2026 Summer Youth Olympic Games, which is the first International Olympic Committee event to be held in Africa and the first in a Muslim-majority country.
The Russian pavilion will bring a number of its world champions, as well as exhibitions in rhythmic gymnastics, while Ireland will bring Brian O'Driscoll – one of the greatest rugby players of all time – to meet fans.
The British pavilion, meanwhile, will be promoting the upcoming Commonwealth Games, which are taking place in Birmingham next year between July 28 and August 8. The Queen’s Baton, the Commonwealth Games equivalent of the Olympic Torch, will also be on display at Expo 2020.
The Brazilian pavilion is scheduled to host one of the world’s largest training Jiu-Jitsu training sessions during the Expo, with some of the biggest exponents and coaches of the Brazilian martial art in attendance. The Dutch and Luxembourg pavilions, meanwhile, have planned many events and activities around the sport of cycling.
Time to unwind
Visitors to Expo 2020 can indulge in their favourite sport inside the Sports, Fitness and Wellbeing Hub, which has a multi-sports area for basketball, volleyball, tennis and netball; a five-a-side football pitch; ‘Big Bash’ cricket nets; an indoor fitness studio; a fitness stage; large LED screens; and a space for sports exhibitions, showcases and celebrity autograph signings.
A number of other sports activities and events will also be taking place at the Expo site, including the Expo 2020 Run on November 19, which will give participants the unique opportunity to run on a course that snakes its way through the Expo 2020 districts, around different Country Pavilions.
The Expo 2020 Dubai Run is open to residents and visitors of all age and nationalities, including participants in strollers, and participants can choose from three distances – 3km, 5km and 10km.
To get in top shape for the event on November 19, participants can take part in four, free-of-cost ‘Expo 2020 Dubai Run the World Family Run’, which is also open to participants of all age and nationality and offers a family-friendly 1.3km run through Ghaf Avenue.
The Run the World Family Run, which is supported by Dubai Sports Council, takes place every Saturday from October 9 to 30, and those interested can register through the PremierOnline website.
Dubai Sports Council, in association with AIS Athletics, has also organised a series of free-of-cost morning and evening training sessions throughout the month of October, delivered by experienced middle and long distance coaches. Open to participants of all age and abilities, the Expo Running Club will also take place at the Expo Park from October 3-6, October 10-13, October 17-20, and October 24-27.
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