Irish Bring Home Medals in Gay Games
By Nicky Green, Badminton Silver Medallist
Since 1982, the Gay Games has connected people from all walks of life, bringing people together with shared values of diversity, respect, equality, and solidarity, with sport providing the platform for togetherness and inclusion.
This year’s 10th Gay Games, hosted in Paris from August 4-12, saw over 10,000 athletes compete from 70 countries across 36 different sports.
Our Irish team was represented by 125 participants who took part in 15 different sporting events and brought home a record total of 42 medals.
Part of that medal haul included a team of 19 badminton players who played out of their skins to win 9 medals, beating competitors from USA, Canada, France, Germany, Slovenia and Finland.
The conditions were the most challenging we had ever faced, playing in a huge hall with 23 courts in temperatures of 37 degrees - and no air conditioning.
Many of our team went all the way to the finals in their categories, with teammates beating fellow teammates to secure medals. In the Women’s Doubles C- category, Team Ireland excelled with an all Ireland podium, cleaning up with all Gold, Silver and Bronze medals. In the Women’s C+ Singles we won Gold, and in the Mixed Doubles C- category, we won Silver.
Congratulations to all who did Ireland proud! As participants, we felt that it was a privilege to play under the Irish banner, and honoured to know that we had the support of Badminton Ireland, plus many supporters in Paris, in addition to friends, families and even politicians cheering us on from back home.
The build-up to Paris involved being invited to a wonderful reception at Aras an Uachtarain to meet the President Micheal D Higgins and his wife.
The Cork participants were invited to Cork City Hall for a reception with the Lord Mayor of Cork, and then received a fabulous send-off at Cork airport as we headed to Paris, which included rousing speeches from the Lord Mayor, County Mayor and top Irish footballer Orlagh Farmer.
Everyone celebrated with Pride. Well done team Ireland!