Queensland athletes joined thousands of others at the recent Gay Games in Guadalajara and Hong Kong.
The eleventh Gay Games were held in November with many LGBTQIA+ athletes from Queensland competing.
Hong Kong and Guadalajara, Mexico were the host cities with dozens of sports on offer.
Originally the games were to be held only in Hong Kong in 2022, however, due to COVID and other factors, the games were delayed until 2023 and spread across the two cities.
Among the athletes competing was a healthy contingent of Aussies including some from here in Queensland.
Sam Baramee travelled to Guadalajara to compete in volleyball with the Brisbane Spikers and revelled in the experience.
“Guadalajara Gay Games 2023 is one of the best sporting events that I’ve ever participated in, I really loved the host city where I truly enjoyed the wonderful hospitality they offered to all visitors,” he said.
The Spikers were the only Australian team competing in volleyball. The team brought home a silver medal after defeating many talented teams from across the Americas.
However, the games were more than the result for Sam.
“It’s not only competition that attracts people to this event but friendship, fun and joyful memorable experiences that bring all together. I made a lot of new friends; we will keep in touch and look forward to catching up again at the next games,” he said.
A tradition of competing
Competing at the games has become a tradition for Dr Darryl Gould OAM.
“Ever since we participated in Gay Games VI Sydney, my partner and I have participated in every Games, since,” he said.
Darryl competed in track and field and took home a swag of medals. He won gold in the long jump and triple jump as well as a silver in the 100-metre sprint.
He attributed some of his success to his former high school sports teacher, rugby league legend Wayne Bennett.
For Darryl, many highlights stood out, but the opening ceremony highlighted the importance of the games.
“Monica Sanchez’s speech at the Opening Ceremony: ‘The Games remind us that sport transforms, teaches us to work as a team, to break down our own limits, to conquer our fears and to be better people’, clearly reminds us that the Gay Games remain as a significant event in our calendar,” he said.
The next Gay Games will be held in Valencia, Spain in 2026. Details at gaygames.org
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