Organizers worry about money
KATHMANDU, Aug 9: While the Olympics in London are nearing wrap up, a similar event is under preparation closer to home. Thanks to the initiative taken by the Blue Diamond Society (BDS), Nepal is hosting Asia´s first Gay Olympics and more than 200 sportspersons have already confirmed their participation in the event that begins on 12 October.
“We are very much excited but also equally nervous,” said event coordinator Roshan Mahato, who bagged second position in the 5-km race in the Gay Olympics held in New Zealand in 2008.
“It needs to be an Asian level event, I mean in terms of management, and we worry whether we can prove ourselves as hosts with only two month now left for preparations.”
Mahato informed that the Nepal sports foundation has offered technical support and popular Nepali players Sangina Baidhya, Neru Thapa and Rahul BK among others have been very encouraging also. “We have received thumps-up from everyone but still some nervousness is there since it is not a small event; the international community will be judging us.”
What is bothering the organizers is not inexperience alone. Basically, it is the lack of money and that is why the event will run for just three days. “We have only 2 million in hand and a pie has already been released for the trainings. During the event we need to provide room and board for the athletes and we don´t know what other expenses might be incurred,” Mahato said. He added that financial support of 1.7 million has come from the Australian government.
According to Mahato, the community of gays, lesbians, bisexuals, transgenders and intersex (LGBTI) from across the world has been invited to take part in the event, and 13 countries including the USA, Poland, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, India and Pakistan have confirmed their participation so far. The participants will compete in volleyball, football, martial arts and athletics.
“However, the difference is we the sportspersons will not play solely to compete or win medals,” states LGBIT leader Sunil Babu Pant. “It is basically for inclusion in society. It is an urge to accept people with difference sexual orientations,” he added.
Pant further said that the event will also include a pink pageant, which he expects to be the highlight of the show. “We hope to make it really big. To make the event more colorful a selected transgender is to be crowned during the event,” he said.
The Gay Olympics started in San Francisco in 1982 as the brainchild of American gay activist Tom Waddell, whose goals were promotion of the spirit of inclusion and participation, as well as the pursuit of personal growth in a sporting event. It retains many similarities with the Olympic Games.