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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 24 March 2019

Avril Lavigne to perform at Special Olympics World Games opening ceremony

Canadian singer will be joined by a host of global performers, including Emirati singer Hussain Al Jassmi and English DJ Paul Oakenfold

Canadian music star Avril Lavigne will lead an international cast of artists performing at the opening ceremony of the Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi.

The multi-million selling pop icon will take to the stage at Zayed Sports City Stadium alongside Emirati singer Hussain Al Jassmi, Egyptian singer and actor Tamer Hosny, Puerto Rican singer Luis Fonsi, Syrian diva Assala Nasri and veteran English DJ Paul Oakenfold on March 14.

Lavigne said she is looking forward to performing at the "largest and most unified Special Olympics World Games ever held".

Lavigne’s Olympics connection

The chart-topper, known for her fizzy pop hits Complicated and Skater Boy, has a strong connection with the Special Olympics movement.

During her 2014 world tour, Lavigne invited more than 200 Special Olympic athletes to be guests at 14 of her concerts.

A year later, she released the charity single Fly in support of the 2015 Special Olympics, held in Los Angeles.

Co-written with Nickleback frontman Chad Kroger, the lyrics of the inspirational orchestral ballad were based on the disabled people she met as part of her charity organisation, The Avril Lavigne Foundation.

“I am so excited to come to Abu Dhabi. I have been working with the Special Olympics for a number of years and this will truly be an incredible experience performing at the largest and most unified Special Olympics World Games ever held,” Lavigne said in a statement.

“These athletes are so inspiring and they are a huge part of what we believe in and support through The Avril Lavigne Foundation. I want to shine a light on their courage and determination and I am honoured to have been invited to help support them.”

The man for the big occasion

Hussain Al Jassmi is no stranger to grand occasions. In January, the Emirati pop-king performed in front of thousands as part of the opening ceremony of the Asian Cup, also held at Zayed Sports City Stadium.

It came a month after he travelled to the Vatican City to perform at the annual Concerto di Natale charity concert.

Tamer Hosny has a generous spirit

When it comes to the Egyptian heart throb Hosny, the singer has always been involved in charitable causes.

In 2011 he was part of a major cast of regional singers involved in the charity single Bokra. Produced by Grammy award winner Quincy Jones and Emirati social entrepreneur Badr Jafar, the money raised from the single went to a variety of international humanitarian programs and institutions.

Last year Hosny also released the solo song El Mawdo Feek (The Issue is Inside You) to support cancer patients in Cairo's 57357 Hospital.

Luis Fonsi to return for biggest UAE show

Fonsi’s last visit to the UAE was also for the right reasons. The singer behind the 2017’s global hit Despacito, made his UAE debut in December as part of the Global Gift Gala, a Dubai-based fundraising event that teamed up with the charitable body Dubai Cares to raise money for a number of international organisations.

Oakenfold in tune with charity

Meanwhile, Paul Oakenfold has taken his charity giving to great heights.

The Grammy award nominated DJ hosted "the highest party on Earth" in 2017, which had him performing a DJ set at 5,380 metres on Mount Everest's base camp. The show was part of a charity drive to raise funds for survivors of Nepal's devastating 2015 earthquakes which killed nearly 9,000 people.

Will Nicole Scherzinger also perform in Abu Dhabi?

The musical acts won't be the only star attractions lending their support to The Games.

Pop star Nicole Scherzinger and Latin singer Erika Ender have already announced they will be part of the global spectacle, which is being held in the Middle East for the first time.

While it has not been confirmed if either will perform, the ex-Pussycat Dolls frontwoman and the Panamanian co-writer of 2017’s global hit Despacito are confirmed guests at the Games, which run from March 14 to 21.

A host of big names from the sporting world will also be part of the event, including Brazilians Romario and Cafu and former Chelsea striker Didier Drogba.

The Special Olympics opening ceremony will be held on March 14 at Zayed Sports City, Abu Dhabi. Tickets begin from Dh100 from www.ticketmaster.ae

Updated: March 7, 2019 02:04 PM

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