Sydney 2002 Gay Games organisers face a monumental task -“ in the words of co-chair Peter Bailey -“ to fill competitor registration targets for the November event.

As of lunchtime yesterday, 10,162 people from 53 countries had registered for the Games: an increase of only 140 in the space of a week.

Games organisers have a target of just over 14,000 registrations before the 31 July cut-off date.

We have high hopes that we will close that gap, but obviously we have a lot of work to do, Bailey told Sydney Star Observer yesterday.

Pride celebrations in major gay centres around the world would be used to market Gay Games registration, and the impending cut-off date should spur more people to register for the event, Bailey said.

Our experience with the cut-off for early registrations last year showed us that registrations go through the roof when people are given a deadline, he said. Six sports have already closed and others have closed certain divisions -“ if people are thinking of registering they can’t leave it any longer.

Bailey said that in addition to the over 10,000 people who had registered for the Games, a further 1,000 people had expressed interest in competing. Sydney 2002 would be in contact with those people in order to convert as many of them as possible to registrations, he added.

Games organisers will not meet their target of 50 percent women’s participation in the event, however. This week, registrations by women were approaching the 3,000 mark -“ less than the total number of men from the USA alone.

Bailey said the registration of Australian women was somewhat healthier than the world average: 43 percent of Australian participants so far will be women, compared to 30 percent of total participants.

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