By Dirk Smith
The Federation of the Gay Games (FGG) together with Gay Games Hong Kong 2022 have announced the 36 different sports that will be offered at Gay Games 11 set to be held in 2022 in Hong Kong. While most of the standard sports are on there, a few new sports are set to make their Gay Games debut. Most notably Dodgeball, Dragon Boat Racing, and E-Sports.
The sports were selected for the program because they have large support within Hong Kong and are expected to draw a lot of participants from the region and throughout parts of Asia.
Sabrina Yang, Gay Games Hong Kong Sports Director said: ‘While compiling the list we wanted to make sure that we struck a good balance between traditionally popular sports among Gay Games participants from around the world, and sports enjoyed in the region like Dragon Boat Racing and Dodgeball, as well as new disciplines like E-Sports. It was a bit of a challenge, but I think we have succeeded, and we are looking forward to the best Gay Games ever.”
E-Sports has risen in popularity over the past 5 years and is becoming a sport that is offered more commonly within major LGBTQI sports events, including its debut at the Sin City Classic this last year. Publications such as “Gayming” have provided resources and local organizations for LGBT gamers, most commonly known as “gaymers” have seen significant growth. Thousands of people joining their local “gaymers” clubs and taking part in local, regional, national and now international e-sports competitions.
In addition, dodgeball and other recreational sports have found a more competitive tone to it and have been rising with popularity with gay dodgeball leagues popping up all around the United States. Organizations like USA Dodgeball and Gay Dodgeball have led the way toward promoting dodgeball and offering a new and exciting sport to enhance physical, social and mental wellbeing.
While Dragon Boat Racing has been rising in popularity in the US, the foundation of the sport comes from China with over 2000 years of history. Modern Dragon Boat Racing was born out of Hong Kong in 1976 and is considered a “canoe sport” in which a team of rowers 18-20 for standard boats and 8-10 for smaller boats race in a variety of distances ranging from 200 to 2000 meters. The boats are traditionally ornately decorated with the head and tails of a Chinese dragon and decorative regalia. While the sport has not been very common in typical LGBTQI sports events, a lot of major cities throughout the world will host Dragon Boat festivals that draw out thousands of people. Given that the 2022 Gay Games will be held in Hong Kong, it might just serve as the event to bring Dragon Boat Racing to the LGBTQI sports community.
Sean Fitzgerald, co-president of the Federation of Gay Games (FGG), the sanctioning body of the Gay Games, is also very excited about the sports that will be included in Hong Kong in 2022: ”For the first Gay Games held in Asia, we believe that the sports offered will attract returning Gay Games participants as well as new sports enthusiasts from the region. A perfect mix ensuring that Hong Kong becomes a trailblazer for increased progress in diversity and inclusion in the world’s most populous region.”