Despite many road bumps, the 2022 Gay Games in Hong Kong are still on the way.
Back in the fall of 2019, some were questioning whether the Gay Games should still be hosted in Hong Kong. The reason being, Hong Kong was, and still is, being rocked by political unrest. Citizens within the Chinese province are unsettled by the growing dominance of China over the country. This led to several protests that have continued to this day.
Then, the coronavirus pandemic led to a postponement of registration for the Gay Games, according to the Bay Area Reporter. Registration for the international sports competition that celebrates LGBTQ athletes was pushed back to the spring of 2021. This leaves just one-and-a-half years to pull together the logistics of the massive event. Right now, the financial impact of this decision is unknown.
“For Hong Kong, most revenue and expenses are still to come,” a joint statement from The Federation of Gay Games said.
“In order to plan accordingly, GGHK is planning to distribute a participation survey this summer to start to get estimates on the number of participants and to identify the countries/regions they come from,” the joint statement added. “This survey will help us to identify the demand for the sport, arts & culture events and to make any changes in our event, marketing, PR and outreach plans if needed.”
And now, results from that survey show that people are still interested in and engaged with the competition. According to the Washington Blade, the results show that the Gay Games Hong Kong should expect 12,000 participants, 75,000 spectators, and 3,000 volunteers. That’s a total of 90,000 people from 100 countries.
“Unity is the key message of Gay Games Hong Kong,” said Dennis Philipse, a Hong Kong resident and the founder/co-chair of Gay Games Hong Kong.
“Carrying a torch of empowerment and connection in Hong Kong serves to bring our community together in this important time for our city,” he added. “We are excited to welcome all the 12,000 participants and 75,000 spectators from 100 countries to the city as the Games serve to boost the local economy by 1 billion Hong Kong dollars.”
So far, 36 sporting events are planned, this includes traditional sports like soccer, volleyball, and figure skating. But in addition, sports more common in Asia are included such as dragon boat racing and eSports. The latter of which led to some discourse back in 2019.
For those worried about the health and safety standards held at the international event, the Federation of Gay Games shared that they are staying watchful and vigilant as we get closer to 2022. Though, they honestly share their hopes that the Gay Games will help Hong Kong bounce back financially from the pandemic.
As spokesperson Shiv Paul told the Washington Blade, “We are closely monitoring the health, political, sporting, travel, and international events that could impact the delivery of Gay Games 11 in Hong Kong. Plans are in development so that we have prepared actions that would assist in mitigating the potential impact of any unfortunate circumstances that might arise.”
Paul then added, “Once the coronavirus pandemic is more settled, we anticipate Hong Kong will deliver a strong program of events to rebuild the tourism industry and Gay Games Hong Kong will be well-timed to be a strong event within these plans.”