Organisers of the Sydney 2002 Gay Games announced this week that they have received over half their projected target of participant registrations. A total of 7,193 men and women have officially registered for the Games, with an additional 3,330 expressing interest but yet to pay the registration fee. The target for total allocated registrations is 14,060 participants.

Sydney 2002 Gay Games CEO Geoffrey Williams announced that he was delighted with the progress of registrations, with a reminder that allocated positions were limited.

It really is a case of first come, first served, said Williams. Waitlists have been established for several sports that have reached their full capacity, but Gay Games announced that this did not guarantee participation. Sports such as badminton, golf, diving and water polo have almost reached full capacity, with swimming the most popular sport.

Figures as at 14 January 2002 show that the highest number of registrations is from the United States, with 2,861 participants. Australia has the next highest number of participants with 1,175, with 748 registrations from Germany. The Netherlands, the UK and New Zealand are also significantly represented in the registrations.

Women comprise around 28 percent of total registrations, significantly less than the Sydney 2002 goal of 50 percent gender parity.

We’re trying to improve on Amsterdam’s figure of 42 percent, Williams told Sydney Star Observer. We’ve got it up from 12.5 percent five months ago, but it’s still lagging behind.

The main emphasis of our marketing over the next couple of months is on targeting women. We’ve already placed several ads in North American lesbian publications, and have formed media partnerships with both local and North American lesbian publications, said Williams, who added that the ratio of participation by Australian women was as high as 40 percent.

Given the fact that we’re past our 50 percent mark in total, it’s highly unlikely we’re going to achieve 50 percent of women participants, Williams said. Now it’s a matter of getting as close to it as we can. For a whole lot of understandable reasons women are slower to register, such as family issues, which may require a lot more planning and economic reasons.

It’s a generalisation, but perhaps there’s a greater degree of cautiousness regarding the international situation and travel, based on anecdotal evidence coming from North America.

Participants can register for the 2002 Gay Games online at www.sydney2002.org.au or by emailing regoadmin@sydney2002.org.au. Hard copy registration forms are available from the website or by contacting Sydney 2002 on 9380 8202.

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