Australia’s longest-established LGBTIQ water polo club the Sydney Stingers will go head-to-head with the country’s best players at Water Polo NSW’s inaugural LGBTIQ inclusion match this Friday.

Founded for the 2002 Sydney Gay Games, the Sydney Stingers are now over 120 members strong, with four teams playing in various grades of the Sydney Metropolitan Water Polo League.

Sydney Stingers teams took out gold medals in the 2016 and 2017 summer metro competitions, and silver in 2015.

Facing down the Sydney Stingers on the eve of the Mardi Gras Parade will be Water Polo NSW’s team of all-stars, featuring Olympic greats and elite players from the upper ranks of the NSW and Australian national leagues.

Joining the Sydney Stingers for the match are Olympic gold medalist Bec Rippon, national league player and Sydney Stingers coach Michaela Davies, and the Sydney Stingers’ newest female member, Emily Scott.

“The Sydney Stingers water polo team is an LGBTIQ-inclusive club, which means everyone is welcome as long as they come with a fierce attitude and a smile on their dial,” said Davies.

“I’m so excited to be playing with them in this match.”

Sydney Stingers spokesperson Daniel Kirkwood said Friday’s match will show off some of the country’s best players, including six alumni of the 2016 Rio Olympics.

“It’s exciting for us to go up against some of Australia’s best, and to be able to showcase inclusive sport in front of the broader water polo and sporting community,” said Kirkwood.

“It’s a great chance to show that water polo is an inclusive sport, and that we have specific options for people who want to join a friendly and competitive LGBTIQ club.”

Water Polo NSW sport development manager Chris Dyson said he was looking forward to the match.

“Water Polo NSW are incredibly excited about this event and we are very fortunate to work with the Sydney Stingers,” he said.

“Water polo is a leading sport in Australia for inclusion of the LGBTIQ community, and we definitely say water polo is safe, it’s fun, and it’s inclusive.

“Through this event we wish to celebrate this dynamic with the broader Sydney community… it’s going to be great!”

The Sydney Stingers are currently recruiting both new and experienced players of any gender to join the club.

This Friday’s LGBTIQ match will be held at the Sydney University Fitness and Aquatic Centre, from 7:30 pm to 9 pm.

Tickets are still available from $15.

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