With entrant registration for the Sydney 2002 Gay Games set to close at 8pm tonight, organisers are claiming a total registration figure of 12,500.

However, that figure could be set to rise even higher with the strong suggestion that Sydney 2002 will allow late registration in a number of sports and cultural events.

The organisation’s post-registration strategy will be announced tomorrow, and details will be then made available from the Sydney 2002 website.

After some slow weeks, registration numbers jumped by 2,000 in the last fortnight. The past week saw 92 additional registrations in soccer, 68 in track and field events, 63 in the marathon and 15 in the marching bands cultural segment.

Organisers initially set them-selves a target of 14,000 by the close of the registration period, which they are unlikely to meet.

The current registration spike is partly due to the inclusion of entrants who have been awarded scholarships to come to Sydney and compete in the Gay Games. Up to 800 scholarships will be awarded by Sydney 2002.

A Sydney 2002 spokesperson told SSO that the number of countries to be represented at the Games had risen to 67, thanks in large part to the scholarship program. Scholarships had been awarded to people in places as far afield as Bangladesh, Rwanda, Ecuador, Fiji and Morocco, the spokesperson said.

Sydney 2002 co-chair Bev Lange said registrations were really strong.

Overnight we’ve increased by 220 registrations, and there were 159 the day before, she said yesterday.

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