Beach Volleyball at the Outgames
(Pic: Warren Brown)

The 2009 World Outgames came to an end on Sunday in Copenhagen after nine days of sporting and cultural events, as well as informative human rights conferences and discussions. The theme of this year’s event was “love of freedom – freedom to love”.

According to an official statement by the World Outgames 2009, “the overall goal to of the event was to reaffirm and defend the human rights of every LGBT person in the world to be able to participate fully, equally and openly in every part of life.”

However the future of the event is still uncertain. There are funding issues, as well as homophobic incidents which put a damper on this year’s games.

London’s Guardian newspaper reported, “sections of the media have been less supportive of the games. The 30m kroner (£3.4m) the city council of Copenhagen used to fund the games has provoked the ire of some commentators, who have also been less than impressed with the number of participants.

When Copenhagen was first announced as the host city four years ago, there were hopes for more than 15,000 people to take part ‚ an estimate that is far off the 5,500 participants who have registered at the Outgames headquarters this week.”

At the very beginning of the games, three people were injured in a street attack after the opening ceremony. Three days later, one person was hurt after a 31-year-old man hurled three bombs (9-inch explosives) onto the track and field venue. The man was arrested with at least six more devices in his backpack. One athlete was injured.

While the next Outgames is scheduled for 2013 in Antwerp, Belgium, the city is reportedly unwilling to pay a $200,000 deposit to the Gay & Lesbian International Sports Association and negotiations are still underway to finalise the host city.

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