The 2013 World Outgames have been awarded to the city of Antwerp, Belgium, it was announced Friday by GLISA International ( Gay and Lesbian International Sport Association ) , ending months of speculation about whether or not there would in fact be a third-ever Outgames.
Antwerp was selected as the preferred host city on October 25, 2008, at the Delegate Congress in Vancouver by the members of GLISA International and the Continental Associations. However, the worldwide economic crisis delayed the signing of the agreement between the local organizers and GLISA.
"We have been working on this since Antwerp successfully hosted the EuroGames in 2007," said Jan de Wiew, team member of WOGA2013 ( World Outgames Antwerp 2013 ) . "The 3rd World Outgames will yet again show Antwerp's capabilities in hosting attractive events, not only for our own LGBT community, but for all in Antwerp. This event in 2013 will of course be based on the three equally important components that distinguish all GLISA events: Sports, Culture and Human Rights."
Tatjana Eggeling, Director GLISA International for Europe said: 'We are very happy to see that the City of Antwerp, the Province of Antwerp and the Flemish Government have taken partnership in the project and will provide both financial and in kind support now and in the years to come."
The GLISA announcement comes in the same week Wonderful Copenhagen announced a positive financial result from the 2009 World Outgames.
"As 2009 comes to a close, GLISA International is proud to report continental Outgames will take place in Vancouver Canada and Wellington, New Zealand in 2011, followed by the 3rd World Outgames in Antwerp in 2013," said Wessel van Kampen, male co-President of GLISA International.
Added Julia Applegate, female co-President of GLISA International: "We're pleased that we were able to settle [ the agreement ] with Antwerp and look forward to working with them on hosting the event. We had no doubt that we'd have a host [ city ] for the 2013 World Outgames, but the worldwide economic crisis slowed things down."
Applegate confirmed that Antwerp organizers "had to do some re-organizing of a viable [ financial ] proposal." Plus, local officials formed a new committee to run the event, she said.
Applegate said there were several other cities interested in hosting the 2013 event prior to the 2008 Delegate Congress, including Melbourne and Amsterdam, but no other cities were looked at "in any concrete way," after the Delegate Congress, she said.
Antwerp officials nor GLISA were not basing their decision on the 2013 event completely on the result of the 2009 Outgames in Copenhagen, Applegate said.
"We didn't hear any apprehension," from Antwerp organizers, based on Copenhagen's turnout of about 5,000 for the sporting events, Applegate said. "The only reason we didn't announce [ Antwerp as the 2013 host during the 2009 Outgames ] was because the financial agreement had not been signed."
Applegate confirmed that "there really was never any conversation of not having the 2013 Outgames," she said.
GLISA officials definitely will be at the 2010 Gay Games, though Applegate did not know if officials from Antwerp would be in Cologne as well.
Applegate, of Columbus, Ohio, is a two-time Gay Games swimmer who won silver and bronze medals in both Amsterdam and Sydney. She is not yet registered to participate in 2010 because of financial constraints and work commitments.
Applegate is a member of the Ohio Splash, a predominantly gay swim team established in 1997.