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Australia will share its love of sport with the world at Expo 2020 Dubai.
Visitors will be able to try their hand at rugby, cricket, football, volleyball, netball and basketball during the six-month long celebration.
International matches between stars from different countries will be an important part of Australia’s presence at the expo, along with classes and events for those exploring the pavilion.
Australia's commissioner general at Expo 2020, Justin McGowan, said visitors would also be able to represent their countries and compete at the custom-made Aussie Sports Park on the site.
“Each country had the opportunity to choose a theme they would be leading on at the expo,” he said.
“We put our hand up and said we wanted to lead on sports and fitness.
“Sports are a key part of Australia’s identity and we wanted to share that with the world. That was the legacy we wanted to leave behind when the expo is over.”
He said sports and fitness events would take place daily at the pavilion throughout the world fair, which got under way on October 1.
A 5,400 square metre sports hub has been built to cater for the sports and fitness events taking part at the site, with Aussie Park a central part of it.
“We want to share all of the values you get playing sport that create healthy individuals with self-esteem and respect for others,” he said.
“It’s our goal to highlight the value of sport to the global community throughout the 180 days of expo.”
Star-studded sporting cast for event
Some of the sporting stars that have already been confirmed for the international extravaganza include heavyweight boxer Anthony Joshua, Real Madrid and Croatia star Luka Modric and former Wimbledon tennis champion Goran Ivanisevic.
Event organisers confirmed Italian soccer giants AC Milan would be in attendance and that Manchester City footballers were also expected to make an appearance.
The health and fitness activities at the pavilion are not restricted to visitors and sports celebrities, said Mr McGowan.
“Each morning we will have a range of classes for workers at the pavilions from yoga to more high-intensity activities like cross fit,” he said.
“We’ll also have four running sessions a day for everyone to take part in.
“We’re also going to be running five-a-side football games at Aussie Park with tournaments taking place throughout the expo.”
A chance to impress younger generation
Another facet of the Australian Pavilion’s sporting offerings will be projects with schools in the UAE.
“A lot of schools have signed up to visit at least five or six times and take part in activities,” said Mr McGowan.
He said the timing of the expo gives his team the perfect opportunity to show the best of what his country has to offer.
“October is Australian Community Sports Month so we are going to hosting a range of activities to mark the occasion,” he said.
“There’s going to be rugby, soccer, touch rugby and cricket every Friday throughout October.”
Another event sports fans can look forward to is an international match between Australia and Ireland, featuring leading stars from Australian Rules and Gaelic Football.
They will be taking each other on in a match that blends the best aspects of each sport, said Mr McGowan.
The pavilion’s team will also be offering masterclasses for anybody interested in getting involved with coaching.
“We’re also going to be running small sessions in schools and will show teachers professional coaching techniques,” he said.
“Grassroots sport has helped strengthened Australia’s identity and we want to share what we have learned along the way.
“There will also be sessions on the high-performance coaching techniques that Australia used so well at the Olympics.”