With Sydney WorldPride just around the corner, it’s time to make space in your calendar for the myriad of sporting activities associated with the festival. From roller skating to water polo to martial arts, get ready to embrace the best of LGBTQIA+ inclusive sporting events!
Lace up your cleats, warm up your tennis serve, dust off your running shoes, and slap on some sunscreen: this WorldPride there are a number of sporting events you can get involved in.
If you’re a keen swimmer, the AQuA Festival kicks off on February 11th with a beach festival, including an ocean swim and recreational or competitive water polo! Get together a group of friends and put your water sport skills to the test! If water-based sports are your thing, you can also join in on Dragon Boat training sessions with Different Strokes Dragon Boat Club. With four sessions from the 21st of February to the 2nd of March, there are plenty of opportunities to get involved. If you’re feeling confident with your boating skills, you can even register to compete in the Dragons on Darling Sydney WorldPride Regatta! All of these Dragon Boat activities are free, but be sure to register.
If you are more interested in sports played on dry land, consider joining the Rainbow Golf Tournament, open to those who want to play competitively or socially. The tournament takes place on the 17th and 18th of February, starting with a Golf Soiree on the evening of the 16th. Alternatively, try your hand at tennis in the Sydney WorldPride Tennis Open. From the 20th to the 23rd, you can compete in singles, doubles, or mixed doubles tennis competitions. Be sure to register before the 31st of January if you want to compete.
For something more fast-paced, join in on the Sydney 2023 IGLFA Football World Championships XXIV. For this event you can register either as a team or individually (you will be placed within a team) for the Men’s and Non-Binary or the Women’s and Non-Binary games. Or you can put on your best running shoes and join Stride With Pride for a 5km walk or a 10km run. A free event, Stride for Pride includes prizes for the fastest walkers and runners as well as prizes for the best dressed!
Finally, get ready for the Queer Sporting Alliance's Ba-skate-ball Jam on the 23rd of February. Starting with a basketball game – featuring DJs and half-time entertainment – this event will conclude with a queer roller disco! Open to anyone from beginner to advanced, the roller disco will include coaches to help everyone get into the groove. Ticket sales for this event support QSA programs which benefit the LQBTQIA+ community. So come along, have fun, and support a great cause!
If you’re more inclined to watch sports rather than play them, there are also several ticketed spectator events.
First up is the World Gay Boxing Championships, running from the 18th to the 22nd of February. This event is a five-day amateur boxing championship, the first accredited event of its kind held specifically for the LGBTQIA+ community. Hosted by drag queens and accompanied by entertainment from fantastic DJs, this event is sure to provide riotous fun. With tickets from $35, it's guaranteed to be a knockout start to the festival’s sports programming.
Running concurrently, from the 18th to the 23rd, are the Sydney WorldPride Martial Arts Championships. A slightly different approach to in-the-ring sparring, this tournament will promote the importance of self defence skills. Admission is free for spectators at this event, and you can even participate in a free self defence workshop on the 23rd. (Note: for those who wish to enter the tournament as a competitor, admission is $100.)
Also on the 18th of February is the Roller Derby Extravaganza, held at the iconic Luna Park in Sydney. Hosted by Sydney’s Inner West Roller Derby League, this will be an event celebrating a sport with a richly queer history. Featuring two separate roller derby games, queer entertainment, and circus acts, this is not an event to be missed. The event also will include trade hall stalls with merchandise and gender affirming products. Tickets start from $25; be sure to get yours before they sell out!
Next up on the sports program is the Pride on Ice Hockey Tournament, held on the 23rd and 24th of February. Hosted by Harbour Lights, New South Wales’s first LGBTQIA+ ice hockey club, this hockey tournament will provide an inviting and empowering space for queer hockey players. Aiming to create visibility for LGBTQIA+ people in the worlds of sport and hockey, this is an excellent event for spectators. Admission for spectators is free, but be sure to register your attendance.
Finally, wrap up your WorldPride sport spectator schedule at the Tony Galluzzo Wrestling Tournament on the 28th of February. This has been an annual event since 2009, returning for an even bigger and better tournament this year as part of WorldPride. The event will feature Olympic freestyle wrestling matches at a variety of skill levels. Spectator tickets are only $10, so add this event to your calendar!
This is by no means an exhaustive list of all the amazing sporting events that are taking place as part of Sydney WorldPride. Check out the full list of events on the WorldPride website so that you don’t miss a single thing!
This blog is the second in a series of features about Sydney WorldPride. View our Guide to Official WorldPride Events here, and stay tuned for the next installment to get a more complete guide of everything happening over the seventeen days of the festival and beyond!