In anticipation of the upcoming Tel Aviv Games, which is the first LGBT multi-sport event in Israel and the middle east, our sports editor Dirk Smith caught up with TAG president Sagi Krispin to learn more!
Dirk Smith- Tell me more about the origin of the Tel Aviv Games, where, when, how did the idea of it start?
Sagi Krispin- TAG (Tel Aviv Games) is an initiative of the Tel Aviv LGBT Sports club. The mission of the Tel Aviv LGBT sports club is to promote equality through the organization of team sports and the Tel Aviv Games – TAG.
The Tel Aviv LGBT Sports club is a member of the Federation of Gay Games and like the Gay Gamse, TAG is built upon the core principles of participation, inclusion, and personal best. Since 2017 TAG has brought together people from all over the world, with diversity, respect, equality, solidarity, and sharing. TAG is open to all, young or old, experienced or novice, LGBT+ person or straight.
DS- Tell me more about your own background and experience in sports, especially in gay sports.
SK- The first LGBT+ sports tournament I participated in was Gay Games 9 in Cleveland, USA. My participation in the Gay Games inspired me to form a LGBT+ Swimming team in Israel. When I came home from the USA, I collaborated with my dear friend, Tal Maoz, and joined the Tel Aviv LGBT Sports club. I founded the swim team TLV Nemos, and the basketball team TLV Swingmen. Since then the club grew and now there are over 200 athletes in the club participating in Swimming, Basketball, Tennis, Volleyball, Soccer, Running and Same Sex Dance.
DS- The first TAG was in 2017, how did the event go?
SK- TAG2017 was a great success with over 300 athletes from 18 countries, playing 4 sports: Basketball, Swimming, Tennis and Soccer. We received great feedback which inspired us to push for a bigger event in 2019.
DS- Did you see any changes in the number of participants from Israel at the Paris Gay Games when compared to previous Gay Games?
SK- The Israeli delegation for Paris 2018 was the largest ever! The Tel Aviv LGBT Sports club organized the delegation and we had 53 athletes participating in Swimming, Basketball, Volleyball, Tennis, Running and cycling.
DS- With the 2019 TAG coming up, tell us more about the organization behind the event, the work your team is doing to promote it and encourage people to participate.
SK- We are working hard with the Tel Aviv municipality and teams of volunteers to make sure that the games will run smoothly. Most of our marketing was done in Paris when we met lots of athletes and promoted the games. Now most of the work is done online on social networks and etc.
DS- The 2019 TAG is already bigger than the 2017 event. What can athletes expect here in 2019?
SK- TAG2019 will be a 4 days event and will include competitions in basketball, football (soccer), tennis, swimming, volleyball, running and ballroom dancing (same sex dance).
TAG2019 will host, for the first time in Israel, a “Pride Run” – under the principles of TAG and with a collaboration the Israeli LGBT youth organization IGY, thousands of people will run in the streets of Tel Aviv to promote equality for all, regardless of race, age, nationality or sexual orientation. The Pride Run will include 5K and 10K runs. The Pride Run is for everyone of every ability. For most it’s the enjoyment of taking part surrounded by like-minded and supportive people. Some run competitively and look to get a great time; many people run or walk to meet their own goal which could simply be about taking part.
DS- Tell us more about the sports and social events that participants can look forward to?
Alongside the sporting events, the participants will enjoy social activities such as an official reception, a gala dinner, parties and more.
DS- With the TAG held every 2 years, what are your goals for the 2021 TAG?
We hope that TAG2021 will be bigger and with more sports to offer like beach volleyball and open water swim. We aim farther to 2023, when we hope that TAG will host the Eurogames.
DS- Thank you so much Sagi! The Tel Aviv Games (Tag2019) are set to take place March 27th – 30th, 2019. Find more information and register at www.telavivgames.org