The release of the latest Sydney 2002 Gay Games figures shows that, while US and European nations are performing up to expectations, Australians are yet to meet registration targets.

Of particular concern are NSW registrations which, at 746 people, are far less than the projected figure of 1,800. In comparison, registrations for North America stand at 47.5 percent of the total registrations (3,299 people -“ with an expected figure of 40 percent) while Europe is on par with 25 percent (up .25 percent on expectation).

Sydney 2002 president Bev Lange warned that if potential local participants continue to take a last-minute attitude to registration, they could well miss out. Look, my sense is, we saw during the Olympics that Australians, particularly Sydneysiders, do things at the last minute, and whilst it’s probably okay if there are plenty of tickets left, it’s not the same for participants, Lange explained. Put simply, if you don’t register soon, you’re going to miss out on some major sports.

Sports already closed to registration are sailing, swimming, badminton and golf, but Lange told the Star that track and field, wrestling, ice hockey and more were still open to anyone who wants to get involved.

Lange said that they want Australians winning gold on our home turf and participating on our home turf, and walking into Aussie stadium with 40,000 people cheering for them.

But come close to 31 July, people will suddenly realise that they haven’t registered for their sport, Lange warned. I suppose what we really need to be strong about is that a number of sports have already closed. If people take that last-minute approach, they may not be able to get into the sport of their choice and they may well need to choose something else or, indeed, not participate at all.

In Sydney recently to firm up contracts for Sydney 2002 was Bo Folsom, who is part of Sydney 2002 ice hockey working group. We have 12 teams confirmed and I anticipate four more in the near future, Folsom told the Star.

Folsom was part of Team Seattle which took silver at Gay Games V in Amsterdam (1998), and has an impressive ice hockey background. Harking from the LA Blades Ice Hockey Club, he is also a member of the International Gay and Lesbian Ice Hockey Association and a representative to the Federation of Gay Games.

Everybody organising for Sydney 2002 comes with a great wealth of experience, Folsom explained. The games are incredible, powerful, empowering and once one has taken part, you know what it’s like to be part of a family.

Overall, registrations for Sydney 2002 from around the world stand at 8,145 people, which is 58 percent of the overall target of 14,060.

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