More than 1,500 participants travelled from across Australia, Asia and as far away as Europe, North America and Canada to compete in 12 sports, each hosted by Melbourne-based gay and lesbian teams or clubs in the 1st Asia Pacific Outgames.
The four-day event, which included the Rainbow Conversations human rights conference, attracted heavy praise from the umbrella body responsible for the first World Outgames in Montréal, the Gay and Lesbian International Sport Association (GLISA).
“The standard at which this event has been presented to the community is really amazing,” GLISA co-president Catherine Mead said.
“Seeing the establishment of new teams like the Melbourne Bentstix, who were a spin-off from the Sydney team, is amazing. That’s the whole purpose of creating GLBTI sports tournaments – so we are just so thrilled.
“Even though this is a smaller continental games, I’m sitting here looking at a world class pool that was used for the Commonwealth Games. The tennis competitors are playing in the shadow of Rod Laver Arena and on the show courts – that’s pretty amazing.”
Mead said several initiatives would be picked up for future events, including the involvement of local clubs in hosting each sport, and the “greening of the games” initiative, which included handing out shower timers to competitors in their registration packs.
Asia Pacific Outgames co-president Peter Sagar said the event was a great community celebration.
“We saw a lot of community organisations working together and supporting each other but also creating a great opportunity and experience for people from around the Asia Pacific region to come together and experience Melbourne and to celebrate who they are,” he said.
He also praised the legion of volunteers and the efforts by each of the 12 sporting clubs.
The financial situation of the event will not be known for some weeks, but Sagar is confident that it will be a positive result, in contrast to the 2006 Montréal Outgames which posted a multi-million dollar loss.
For detailed event results, visit www.melbourneoutgames.org. Look for more images online at: www.onlinepix.com.au/outgames.
From bnews – www.bnews.net.au