Australia is set to host the first-ever ‘rubbish pick up’ tournament at Sydney’s Manly beach on August 26, offering the winning team a sponsored trip to Japan’s SPOGOMI Olympics in November 2023.

SPOGOMI, short for “Sport Gomihiroi (picking up trash)”, is a sport that aims to combat the amount of litter that ends up in the ocean.

Jason Partington, co-host of SPOGOMI and the founder of MeditationHQ, said that Australia remains the biggest consumers of single-use plastics per capita in the world.

80 percent of marine trash and rubbish comes from landfill. That is what this sport is all about, to raise awareness that this issue is not dead, it is something that needs to be taken care of,” Partington said.

SPOGOMI was invented by Mamitsuka Kenichi from the Social Sports Initiative in 2008 and has now transformed into a worldwide competition, uniting participants from across the globe.

The Australian tournament will see 30 to 40 teams of three vying for points based on the volume and nature of collected debris within designated zones and a stipulated timeframe. The triumphant team will secure an esteemed invitation and sponsorship to travel to Japan, representing Australia at the SPOGOMI Olympics in November 2023.

“We have the Japanese consulate and Japanese TV coming down to elevate the event prior to the SPOGOMI Olympics which will see 20 countries competing,” Partington said.

Layne Beachley, 7 times world surf champion, and Takeshi Mastuda, Japanese Olympian Swimmer, will also be present at the upcoming event to share a few words of inspiration and announce the winning team.

Mastuda, who is a SPOGOMI World Cup ambassador, said that people who are actively picking up trash are less likely to litter later.

“SPOGOMI ties in with the aims of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, but many people don’t know where to start. Participating in SPOGOMI is doable for everyone, young and old, with high-impact results,” Mastuda said.

Co-host and founder of Oceanlovers and Basic Bananas, Franziska Iseli, said the support that SPOGOMI is getting is essential in raising awareness of marine protection strategies.

“It’s amazing to see so much support of this important initiative not only by the local council and community but also by well-known role models who truly care about our ocean,” Iseli said.

As the inaugural Australian SPOGOMI tournament approaches, it stands as a powerful reminder that collective efforts, like this unique sport, have the potential to drive meaningful change and inspire a cleaner, more sustainable future for our oceans.cup