International students from Wollongong took the title of 2016’s International Beach Soccer Tournament after police and students from across the state played a round–robin competition on the sands at Coogee.
The police-hosted tournament involved teams of police officers and more than 250 international students representing more than 50 countries and regions.
Students, who are studying at schools, TAFE colleges, English language colleges, universities and other educational institutions in NSW, represented their country during the one-day competition.
The event was proudly sponsored by Study NSW, Department of Premier and Cabinet, Randwick City Council and Multicultural NSW.
Students from African countries, Brazil, Bangladesh, Chile, China, Colombia, Thailand, Europe, India, Japan, Mongolia, two teams from the Middle East, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, South East Asia, Western Region, Newcastle, Wollongong and Police/Randwick Council team represented their countries in the competition.
International students from Coffs Harbour also made the trip to participate in the tournament.
The tournament also featured police from local area commands across Sydney, as well as the Hunter and Illawarra.
The grand final was played out between Europe and Wollongong, with Wollongong taking the title in a 3-2 win.
Corporate Sponsor for the Safety of International Students, Detective Superintendent Gavin Dengate, said the tournament is testament to the power of community engagement.
“The world game of soccer brings people closer and this is an ideal way for our officers to engage with students and to help them feel welcome and safe in their new community.
“It was great for police officers and students alike to interact with one another, and break down barriers so students know they can come to us if they ever need help,” Det Supt Dengate said.
“This interaction, in a relaxed setting, gives students from so many different countries the opportunity to talk to police about their experiences or any challenges they may be facing, so officers are best equipped to understand their needs.
“It was also great to see thousands of people coming out to watch and cheer the players on and celebrate the day.
“We really appreciate the support from the local community, as well as the educational institutions, Randwick City Council, event sponsors and local business, all of whom played a part in making the day such a success,” Det Supt Dengate said.