Sporting start for gay athletes

The election of two gay candidates to the Tel Aviv city council in the November municipal elections is already beginning to have an influence in the city, reports In recent weeks, the city has begun seeking out gay sportspeople to join its first official delegation to the international gay games being held this coming summer in Copenhagen. According to the report, the city aims to send a delegation of 30 athletes to the second World Outgames, an international sporting contest that was first held in Montreal in 2006 and this year is being held in Copenhagen. The World Outgames are a rival event to the international Gay Games (formerly known as the Gay Olympics) which were first held in San Francisco in 1982 and will next be held in Cologne, Germany in 2010. The report said that in recent weeks, the Tel Aviv organizers have signed up ballroom dancers, volleyball players and women's soccer players for the delegation, and are seeking men's soccer players, male and female basketball players, swimmers and athletes. It said that most of the travel and accommodation costs would be borne by the participants themselves. Gay councilor Yaniv Vitzman said that funding for the delegation was being examined. "The aim is to put Tel Aviv on the map," Vitzman said. "This is an outstanding opportunity to show the face of Tel Aviv to thousands of homosexuals and lesbians who will be there (in Cologne). Every sportsperson who is connected to this community in one way or another is invited to take part and to represent the community."