August 17, 2010

Table tennis at Gay Games Cologne

About 130 participants from 15 countries competed in the Gay Games Cologne Table Tennis competition. Cologne marked a return of the sport to the Gay Games as it was not contested in Chicago in 2006. Men's and women's singles and doubles, by ability division, as well as Hobby and Master's divisions were offered.

In the men's Championship A division, Michael Mahlstedt of Germany defeated Amir Ahmed of Austria for the gold and silver medals. Roland Kariger of Austria and Ronny Richter of Germany won the bronze medals. But the singles weren't the only place where these 4 men shined. In the doubles final Michael and Amir teamed up to win gold over, you guessed it, Roland Ronny who got the silver. Bronze in Men's doubles, championship A, went to Lars Afrell of Sweden teaming up with Walter Esser of Germany.

Women's Championship A saw Miriam Bartels of Germany defeating Ruth Delattre of Germany for the gold. Miriam and Ruth also met in the women's doubles final AND the mixed doubles final, but on opposite sides. Ruth and her partner Lars Afrell from Sweden defeated Miriam and her partner ronny Richter of Germany in the Mixed Doubles finals, whereas Miriam and her partner Uta Schultheiss turned the tables to win gold over Ruth and her partner Andrea Kroller in an all Germany women's doubles finals in Championship A.

The Championship B division proved even more powerful for the home team Germany with all golds going to German players. Hungary shared in the mixed doubles silver, Greece shared in a men's doubles bronze and Nick Moy and Ju-Young Joun of the UK were the only fully non-German team to win a medal (bronze in men's doubles).

Those of you who were rooting for American Kaia Wilson, whose blog chronicled her preparation for the the Gay Games and was often featured on this blog, will be pleased to know that she won a gold medal in women's doubles in the champship C division, teaming up with fellow American Joyce Stuart. She also won a bronze in the co-ed team competition. Kaia is a musician from Portland, Oregon, best known for cofounding Team Dresch, a 1990s queercore punk band, and The Butchies, a pop-rock spin-off from her solo work.

A special shoutout also from me to Wolfgang Busch of Team New York who was very helpful in the early stages of getting New Yorkers organized for these Gay Games. In the Recreational Division, Wolfgang took Gold in men's doubles, gold in mixed doubles, and bronze in men's singles.

The full set of results are available HERE. Congratulations to all participants.

Life imitates art...

I only just realized how close this pose is to the logo of Gay Games VIII, which you can see on the backdrop on either side of Atlanta's Brian Dohner.

Australian Ambassador at Gay Games VIII

Gay Games VIII Cologne 2010 welcomed several world leaders and official governement ambassadors. One important visitor was the Australian Ambassador to Germany. Read this story from the Sydney Star Observer.

On August 1, one day after the Opening Ceremony of Gay Games VIII Cologne, some 300 Australian athletes and their partners and friends mingled at the Australian Welcome Reception, held in the event venue (and former city monastery) Wolkenburg. The event, which was jointly being co-hosted by the Australian Ambassador to Germany, His Excellency Mr Peter Tesch and Team Sydney on behalf of all Australian city teams, showed impressively the biggest Australian contingent at International Games outside of Australia ever, reporting with 363 athletes and cultural participants an increase of 34% more compared to last Gay Games in Chicago 2006.

Peter Tesch, who stayed in Cologne for another day to visit some of the sports venues and follow his contingent in action, wished the Australian participants during his speech all his best for their competitions and underlined the importance of the Gay Games to break down on stereotypes and address missing GLBT rights throughout the globe.

Whether it was his official support or the intense upfront training of his Australian athletes, the Australian team managed to bring home 90 gold, 92 silver and 53 bronze medals in total as access baggage.

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