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Gay rights

Hong Kong to learn whether it has won bid to host Gay Games 2022

City up against Washington and Guadalajara, with winner to be announced on Monday in Paris

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 29 October, 2017, 9:33am
UPDATED : Sunday, 29 October, 2017, 9:47am

Hong Kong has made its final case in its bid to host the 2022 Gay Games, with the winning city set to be announced on Monday in Paris.

The city is up against Washington and the Mexican city of Guadalajara for the nod. The Federation of Gay Games, which runs the inclusive event, will announce the winner at 6pm local time.

And, win or lose, the bid leader said he was pleased with his team’s effort.

“Our presentation yesterday in Paris was the last hurdle of an amazing bid journey taking Hong Kong’s LGBT+ to an international platform,” Dennis Philipse, chair of the Hong Kong bid team, said.

“If we win or not, the bid was already an incredible achievement.”

First held in San Francisco in 1982, the Gay Games has become the largest global sport and cultural gathering open to all. It is held every four years, with 70 countries expected to participate in Paris next year. Participants do not have to be gay.

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Hong Kong’s plan is for a 10-day sporting and cultural celebration, tentatively scheduled for November 9 to 20, 2022.

Since the city came into contention to host the event 18 months ago, support for the bid has grown. And so have its prospects of winning, dealing organisers a major confidence boost.

Organisers have said bringing the games to Hong Kong would present it as a world city to an international audience, as well as helping tackle the stigma and cultural barriers faced by LGBT groups across the region. No Asian city has hosted the games since its inception.

Support in Hong Kong is strong, with more than 120 backers from government and politics, business, sports and cultural organisations. Among the heavy hitters are the Equal Opportunities Commission, the Tourism Board and businessman Allan Zeman.

Major companies like Cathay Pacific Airways, the Mandarin Oriental hotel group, Pure Fitness and Accor Hotels have publicly backed the bid, too. Corporate support is key to making the privately funded games a success.

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With 15,000 athletes and an estimated 40,000 people travelling to see the games, organisers have said it can bring up to HK$1 billion into a city.

Hong Kong’s plan for the games includes 36 events, with local favourites trail running and dragon boat racing alongside traditional track and field events. Taking advantage of existing facilities, Tseung Kwan O Sports Ground, Victoria Park swimming pool, and Kai Tak Cruise Terminal are all listed as key venues.

“I am so proud of the team that gave up so much of their free time for the bid,” Philipse said. “We are all so passionate to show our native or adoptive city to Federation of Gay Games members representing the world.”