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Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC)

Could Hong Kong become first city in Asia to host Gay Games? Big names back 2022 bid

The city will next month submit its final bid for the nine-day sporting and cultural event, with high profile backers including the Equal Opportunities Commission

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 29 October, 2016, 4:44pm
UPDATED : Friday, 26 May, 2017, 12:44pm

The Equal Opportunities Commission and the “father of Lan Kwai Fong” Allan Zeman are among a number of high-profile backers to throw their support behind Hong Kong’s bid to host the 2022 Gay Games.

Other supporters of the city’s effort to hold the event include businesswoman Gigi Chao, Goods Of Desire co-founder Benjamin Lau, gym chain Pure Fitness and hotel groups Accor and the Mandarin Oriental, according to organisers.

Hong Kong’s bid for the games was warmly received by the Federation of Gay Games in Sydney last week, where a four-person delegation showcased the city before they are expected to submit a final application for the event next month.

If successful, Hong Kong would be the first Asian city to host the quadriennial event since its inception in 1982. It would join other major sporting events taking place across China that same year, including the Winter Olympics in Beijing and the Asia Games in Hangzhou.

The games would see thousands of competitors from dozens of countries flock to the city to compete in some 36 different sporting events over a nine-day period. Local sports, including dragon boat racing, tai chi, trail and tower running would be added to the schedule.

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Arts and culture events, including calligraphy, lion dancing, and the AIDS Memorial Quilt would also feature.

Organisers of Hong Kong’s bid for the Gay Games said 40,000 participants and visitors are expected to attend the event, injecting an estimated HK$1 billion into the local economy.

Hong Kong is up against eight other cities all vying to host the event. They include Guadalajara in Mexico, and US cities Los Angeles, Washington DC, Austin, Dallas, Denver, Salt Lake City and San Francisco. Candidates will be whittled down to three early next year before the winner is selected in October 2017.

Hosting the games for first time in Asia will be... a great opportunity to build a new base of supporters and members
Dennis Philipse

First hosted by San Francisco in 1982, the Gay Games has gone on to become the largest international sport and cultural gathering open to all, regardless of ability, age, sexual orientation, race, gender, nationality, political or religious beliefs, ethnic origins, or HIV status.

The 2014 games were hosted in Cleveland, Ohio, featuring 10,000 athletes from 60 countries and 37 sporting events. Paris is set to host the games in 2018.

LGBTI sports organisation Out in HK, which led the 2022 bid, said it hoped to encourage people from all walks of life to participate and compete.

“Hosting the games for first time in Asia will be... a great opportunity to build a new base of supporters and members...[and] an amazing opportunity for Asia to show the rest of the world how amazing Hong Kong is,” Out in HK founder Dennis Philipse said.

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Organisers said they hoped their bid reflected Hong Kong’s accessibility and superior transport system, with further MTR expansions set to bear fruit by the time of the games, making it easier to cross the harbour and reach the majority of the city’s urban districts.

Connections through the high-speed rail link, the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge, Hong Kong International Airport and access to the mainland were also a major selling point.