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The Expo 2020 site.

PHOTO BY ARCHIVE


Which sports stars will visit Expo 2020 next?

 

DUBAI – With a new and bigger sports venue opening at Expo 2020 in January, which sports stars will be visiting over the remaining three months?

Running until March 31, Expo 2020 has invited visitors from across the planet for a six-month celebration. A new sports venue will open in January to welcome more sporting giants.

Earlier this month, Argentine footballer and Expo 2020 Dubai Ambassador Lionel Messi visited the Expo site, calling it “very big, very impressive”.

“Something extraordinary each pavilion has its own thing, its own place,” he said. “It shows you its culture, its country, it makes you see and learn from each one of them.”

Usain Bolt, the world’s fastest man, also hosted a charity fun run at Expo 2020. “For me, just watching sports in general, and as a sports person, it’s massive,” said the retired Jamaican sprinter. “One example: in Jamaica, when the Olympics is going on, the crime goes down to zero and when the World Cup is going on, everyone is watching. So I feel sport plays such a big part in helping the world come together.”

Pep Guardiola, the manager of Manchester City, was very impressed during his own visit: “It’s been a wonderful experience to witness the energy of grassroots football here at Expo 2020 Dubai, and to see how the club connects with people around the world. The enthusiasm for the game demonstrated by the next generation of aspiring players is marvellous.”

Even basketball exhibition team the Harlem Globetrotters got to showcase their skills, while visitors got a glimpse of the Premier League trophy and the European Cup.

Former England rugby union player James Haskell described Expo 2020 as “a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity”, while other sports stars were blown away by their home country’s pavilion.

Ferrari Formula 1 driver Carlos Sainz Jr was among them. “As a Spaniard, it makes me feel very proud – I’m impressed by the whole set-up,” he said during his visit. “I don’t spend enough time in Spain because of the travelling, and I live in Italy, so this has been a good opportunity to be reminded of my country and all the cool places it has.”

England women’s cricketer Kate Cross was very impressed by the Expo site. “I couldn’t grasp how big it was going to be, you have to see it to believe it,” she said. “At the Emirates Pavilion, they showed me what aviation is going to look like in 50 years’ time, and how sustainability is going to be a big part of that. It’s all really exciting.” ICA/Expat Media


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