The second Tel Aviv Games are set to begin in a little more than a month, and the organizer says he’s even more excited about this event than the inaugural games in 2017.
“This year’s TAG will be bigger, more visible and prouder,” said Sergi Krispin, head of the organizing committee, in an interview with The Washington Blade. “There will also be more involvement from the local community outside of the sports community.”
Krispin and the TLV LGBT Sports Club have added venues around Israel’s most cosmopolitan city as well as a Pride Run 5K/10K, open to all participants. Proceeds from the Pride Run are to benefit Israel Gay Youth, a Tel Aviv youth organization, reported The Blade.
“The people here are very committed to TAG,” Krispin told the paper. “We have partnered with City Hall and will be hosting events there.”
New this year are road running, volleyball and even a same-sex dance event.
As Outsports reported in 2017, the first iteration of the Tel Aviv Games were small, with just four sports: basketball, soccer, swimming and tennis. Organizers had registered 300 athletes from 20 countries, including Hong Kong, Belarus, Russia and France, as well as attracting athletes from as far away as Brazil and the United States.
It was a trip to the Cleveland Gay Games in 2014 that inspired Krispin, he told The Blade. The LGBTQ sports community in Tel Aviv has grown significantly since then. More than 50 Israeli athletes competed in six sports at the 2018 Paris Gay Games, including 22 participants in swimming.
This time around there are even athletes from Australia competing in Tel Aviv, as well as the District of Columbia Aquatics Club, which The Blade reported is sending five swimmers to compete.
Tel Aviv is also host to one of the world’s biggest pride parades. The 2018 march drew a reported quarter of a million people, and the 2019 event is planned for June 14.
“We have a selling point that isn’t found in the other host cities,” said Krispin. “Europe will still be recovering from winter, but you can go to the beach in Tel Aviv in March. We are excited to welcome everyone.”