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Outgames notes from swimming, bridge, table tennis and badminton

By Ross Forman

Show of support: Steven Prins, 30, from The Hague in the Netherlands, has the full support of his management consulting firm, House of Performance. In fact, he sported a stylish, black, hooded bathrobe here at the swimming events of the second World Outgames with the company’s name stitched on the front and back.

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Check out our photo gallery from the pool and the track.

“My company supported me coming to the Outgames and is OK with people who are gay,” said Prins. “And they wanted me to try to recruit new consultants.”

Prins has received numerous emails and text messages of support for his swimming while in Denmark from co-workers, and he was certain all would be shocked with his replies from Tuesday – that he claimed the gold medal in the 200 freestyle.

Senior sensation: Karen Moses, 60, from Wellington, N.Z., captured the gold medal (her first and she’s been in both Outgames) in the 50-meter breaststroke, a medal she celebrated with her significant other, Eve Tregerthan.

“This is so cool,” she said of her medal. “This is very inspiring because, as you get older, it just gets more and more difficult. For me, this medal is magic and proves that all the [pre-race] work was worthwhile.”

Table tennis terrors: The veteran women’s” division (over 40) in table tennis was dominated by Americans. Sandy Gallett, 60, of New York City, was the gold medal winner, while American June Polak was second. Moira Kinsella of the United Kingdom grabbed the bronze, while Renee Cafiero of the U.S. was fourth.

“I’m very happy,” said Gallett, who also won a gold medal in 2006 in Montreal. “It’s lovely [winning the gold] and it’s just been quite an experience with all these people.”

Gallett plays twice a week and is part of an all-female league in New York City with about 20 members.

The wrestler: Manfred Molt, 43, of Germany, was back on the LGBT wrestling scene, but didn’t have much competition. There were only seven registered wrestlers, though more than 30 attended a wrestling workshop.

The limited turnout for wrestling, though, was not frustrating, he said.

“It’s still fun for me,” said Molt, who was the Most Valuable Wrestler at the Gay Games in Sydney, and was a gold medal winner in Sydney and Montreal. “I just like to wrestle. It’s nice to win, but not necessary for me.”

A banker, Molt was support Tuesday by his husband, Radek Cizek.

“I’m glad I came. Not just for the wrestling; it’s the whole event,” Molt said. “The Outgames is about seeing other sports, making friends from all over the world and simply showing that being gay is not a kind of sickness.”

Is bridge a sport?: Yes, said Ron Dixon, 63, of Vancouver, “depending on your definition of what a sport is.”

“If your definition of a sport means that you have to break a sweat, then it’s not a sport. But it certainly does require skill.”

“There’s a very strong competitive nature to [bridge],” Dixon said. “It’s a pastime and people really enjoy it.”

Dixon has won medals at the Gay Games in Sydney and the Outgames in Montreal. Sydney featured 130 playing bridge; Montreal had 120. There are only about 50 here. But Dixon isn’t distraught. “I could play bridge with just the minimum three others and still be having fun,” he said.

Bridge competitors in Copenhagen range from Lars Moller Sorensen, 23, to Robert Lorenzen, 86.

Badminton bad boys: Harold Harkhoe and Vikash Laldjiet represented Suriname here in badminton and, yes, each is proud of their sport.

“If you see the [Olympic-level] Chinese players jump smash it, you’d be completely amazed. They hit it so hard that you can’t even come close to it,” said Harkhoe, 44, who noted that the most common injury in his sport come from trick shots when you have to change your movement and often are off balance.

Harkhoe said the competition is “really strong, really tough” and even better than the 2008 EuroGames in Barcelona.