Zavion Kotze with some of his medals

Survivor’s Zavion Kotze has made South Africa proud, bringing home an impressive stash of medals from the Cleveland Gay Games.

The week-long event came to a close on Saturday night with a ceremony featuring a performance by Boy George.

Thousands of athletes from 50 countries took part in the Games – touted as a success for the global LGBT community and for the city of Cleveland.

Kotze, who said he was surprised by the high standard of competition, won an astonishing 12 medals. These included eight gold (100m; long jump; triple jump; high jump; discus; javelin; shot put; decathlon), three silver (200m; 110m hurdles; pole vault) and one bronze (4 x 200m).

Kotze won a medal in all 12 events in which he took part and said he was “supper happy” with his results.

The wedding planner, who competed in the most recent season of Survivor South Africa, has four SA Student Decathlon Champion titles and a stint with the Sharks’ Sevens under 21 rugby team under his belt.

Kotze said that he was aware of only two other South African athletes at the Gay Games. “I know of one guy that did swimming and one lady that did mid distance on the track. There were one or two medals from her but not sure about our swimmer.”

He’s been inspired to improve South Africa’s representation at the next Gay Games and plans to head up a team to Paris in 2018. He also aims to put together a bid to host the Games in South Africa in the future.


Kotze competing in the high jump

“I’ve spoken to the Federation of Gay Games co-president and I will be joining the Federation as a South African delegate. We will most definitely be putting in a bid for 2022,” Kotze revealed.

The country has previously submitted a bid to host the Gay Games. Johannesburg was narrowly beaten by Cologne, which went on to host the 2010 edition.

“It’s been amazing,” Kotze said about his experience in Cleveland. “I had so many moments where I just sat back and looked at all of the love and friendliness around me. There was such a sense of community and belonging. Six thousand athletes from every walk of life coming together to compete – it was awe-inspiring!”

Launched in 1982, the Gay Games are billed as “an international sporting and cultural event held every four years under the founding principles of Participation, Inclusion and Personal Best.”

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