Israeli Gay Sports Club Summarizes First Year

Members of the Israeli LGBT Sports Club in Tel Aviv marked the club’s one year anniversary in a meeting attended by members of the gay swimming team TLV Nemos, basketball team members Swing Man and representatives of the gay soccer team Rainball.

Members of Swing Man, Tel Aviv’s Basketball Gay Team

The Israeli LGBT Sports Club was launched a year ago with the motto of “- Participation, Inclusion and Personal best.”

“Our goal in this club is to create a community of LGBT athletes in Tel aviv and in Israel,” co-ExEcutive Director Sagi Krispin tells A Wider Bridge. “We aim to fight LGBTphobia in sport, to empower individuals in and outside our club and to represents Tel Aviv’s LGBT community abroad.”

During a first-year-anniversary event that was held at the Great Shape sports club in Tel Aviv, Krispin, who’s also the swimming team captain and co-Executive Director of the club who’s also the basketball team captain, Tal Maoz, summarized the club’s first year and presented Certificates of Appreciation to The Aguda and to the Great Shape Network for the assistance they gave the team during the basketball tournament that was held this year in Tel Aviv.

“During this year Tel Aviv Gay Sports Club turned into an active organization that provides services to dozens of people,” Krispin told Israeli LGBT website WDG. “Throughout the year we launched the swimming team and the basketball team, and now we have over seventy active members in both of these groups. The swimming team participated in two major international tournaments in Prague and Sweden, and the basketball team participated in a tournament in France and held a tournament here in the country. These days we are forming a tennis team that will participate in the LGBT tennis tournament that is planned here at the end of March, and the aim is to be the umbrella organization of all the LGBT sports organizations in Israel, and there are quite a few.”

Members of TLV Nemos, Tel Aviv’s Gay Swimming Team.

The success of the Tel Aviv Gay Sports Club abroad last year was reflected not only in tournaments and competitions, but also in the warm embrace of international organizations.

“We are one of the very few Israeli organizations that are received with open arms by international organizations,” said Krispin. “At a time when many Israeli organizations suffer from boycotts, we joined three major international organizations: The Federation of Gay Games, The European Gay and Lesbian Federation and International Gay and Lesbian Aquatics. This embrace and recognition is not to be taken lightly, and I’m sure this is just the beginning of becoming an influential organization here in town, in Israel and in the world.”

“A year ago Sagi and I realized that there is a need, and a year later we see that this need was realized,” adds Maoz. “For me, a year from now the club should include double the number of people in other type of sports, with a synergistic connection not only inside the sports types but also between the types.”

The activity of the club, as well as the trainings and participation in international competitions are currently funded in full by the members of the club, and there are already plans to participate in 2016 in competetions in Paris, Helsinki and Edmonton (Canada). But despite the understandable desire for achievements, the managers emphasize that the club is a social organization.

“The club is a club for LGBT people and anyone else who wants in, and the common denominator of all is sports,” said Krispin. “Our motto is participation, acceptance and personal excellence, and anyone can participate in any sport type that he wants to, to train by himself or compete against others and improve his capabilities. The direction is less competitive on a professional level but more like a social community building around the theme of sports.”

“I’m excited by this year,” concludes Krispin. “First of all to see the idea carried out is exciting and at the individual level, people who don’t come from the community, don’t go out to parties -all of a sudden they have here a social circle that they can enjoy and experience. This was my year of meeting people, connecting between people and making them feel good.”