‘Tough decisions’ for 2023 Gay Games organizers as registration opens for Hong Kong and Guadalajara

Participants are encouraged to register now for Gay Games XI, which will be co-hosted in Latin America and Asia in November next year; only five sports – athletics, swimming, football, tennis and badminton – are scheduled in the two cities, leaving some athletes with difficult choices; Hong Kong says it expects 7,000 athletes and entertainers and 25,000 spectators

By Jon Holmes

The Rainbow Walk at the opening ceremony of Gay Games 9 in Cleveland in 2014 (image by Koji Kawano, Creative Commons)

Registration is open for the Gay Games XI to be co-hosted next year by Hong Kong and Guadalajara – the first edition of the LGBTQ+ inclusive multi-sport event to be held in Latin America or Asia.

The Games will take place from Friday 3 to Saturday 11 November 2023.

There will be competitions in more than 30 disciplines in the two cities, but only five sports – athletics, swimming, football, tennis and badminton – are expected to feature in the two cities. hong kong and Guadalajara.

This will certainly leave many potential athletes with difficult choices to make, particularly those who would have liked to practice more than one sport as well as those who were hoping to travel and spend time with friends.

“We had to make some tough decisions,” wrote the Gay Games Federation‘ (FGG) Vice President of External Relations, Adrian Hyyrylainen-Trett, in a press release, adding a message to potential participants: “You may find that the sport you wanted to compete in has moved.”

In football, sevens and 11s tournaments are set to be held in Hong Kong and Guadalajara, while the double distance running events will include 5k and 10k road races, as well as half marathons and marathons. full marathons. Open water swimming will only take place in Hong Kong, according to information provided on the host city websites.

Other sports offered to athletes in the Asian city are fencing, field hockey, martial arts, rowing, rugby sevens, sailing (dinghy sailing), squash and table tennis, as well as four new sports Gay Games – dodgeball, dragon boat racing, mahjong, and running.

Meanwhile, in its Mexican counterpart, other sports listed are basketball, beach volleyball, cheerleading, dancesport, diving, golf, Greco-Roman wrestling, powerlifting, softball, ten-pin bowling, volleyball, water polo and the traditional and delightfully silly. swim test, Pink Flamingo.

Several sports that were part of the Paris 2018 program are expected to be missed this time around. Those not listed separately for the 2023 Games are boxing, cycling (not road or mountain bike), figure skating, handball, ice hockey, judo, pétanque, speed skating, swimming synchronized and triathlon.

The Paris Games brought together more than 10,000 participants from 91 countries and injected more than 100 million euros into the local economy.

The opening ceremony of the Paris Gay Games in 2018 (image by Daieuxetdailleurs, Creative Commons)

Despite the various complications of co-hosting – the decision to split tasks between the two cities was announced in February due to the continuing challenges caused by the Covid-19 pandemic – excitement is building ahead of next November.

For its part, Hong Kong has reaffirmed quarantine and visa-free entry for athletes from 170 countries. The city plans to host 7,000 athletes and artists, and 25,000 spectators.

Joanie Evans

“The Gay Games represent our highest ideals of creating a society where diversity is celebrated, where every person has the freedom to achieve their full potential, where everyone is equal in sport, regardless of gender identity. and sexual orientation,” said FGG co-chair Joanie Evans.

“I look forward to joining 30,000 passionate people in Hong Kong as we walk through history together, hosting our first Games in Asia and Latin America.”

Lisa Lam, Co-Chair of Gay Games Hong Kong 2023, added, “With the abolition of quarantine in Hong Kong, we are telling the world that Hong Kong is up to the challenge of hosting this international multi-sport event, artistic and cultural.

“From the rolling hills of Sai Kung to the blue waters of Deep Water Bay, we will show the world that our city’s unique natural attributes can provide an unparalleled sporting experience, whether you are a marathon runner, open water swimmer, rugby player or tennis player. .

“For many participants, it will be a unique and unforgettable experience that will give them a sense of belonging and empowerment, making friends for life.”

Those who register before the end of 2022 to attend Hong Kong next November will be able to take advantage of an early bird discount, bringing the fee down to HKD$1,050 (£120).

Gay Games Hong Kong 2023 is also offering financial support, including 1,000 fee waivers for young people under 25, as well as help for migrant workers, domestic helpers and minorities, on a first-come basis. , first served, privately funded. donors.

Besides sporting competitions, Hong Kong promises spectacular opening and closing ceremonies, as well as entertainment, exhibitions and events, including three nights of headlining gala concerts.

Meanwhile, in a message to athletes heading to Mexico, Gay Games Guadalajara’s Monica Sanchez said: “After difficult times that marked and redefined us, it’s time to see each other again, to embrace each other and to celebrate with pride our freedom. .

“Guadalajara will be a unique experience; the first time we will meet at the biggest celebration of diversity after the global health emergency; and it will be the first time we do it in Latin America.

“You are part of this story and we want to celebrate it with you. Head to Guadalajara, the most Mexican, progressive and gayest city in Mexico. We are waiting for you with open arms in November 2023!”

For more information on how to register, see the official website of the Gay Games Federation and follow the links for hong kong and Guadalajara.

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