One of the loudest cheers to be heard during Saturday night’s opening ceremony was reserved for Yasir Samir (pictured), Iraq’s sole representative during these Gay Games. Samir, who says he is twenty-twelve, left Baghdad at the age of nine and has been living in London ever since. Initially he hoped to compete in his sport (touch football) with other Iraqis, but after a fruitless search, he eventually hooked up with one of the two Melbourne teams competing in Sydney. He’s been playing football for eight years, but this is his first time at a Gay Games. So how did he feel hearing the cheer for Iraq at the opening ceremony? Really, really good, he says. I wasn’t really sure what to expect coming in, but it was fantastic; a very nice feeling.

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