Featured events

7-9 September 2012
Brussels Games

Brussels Gay Sports will offer a weekend of fun and fairplay in the capital of Europe, with volleyball, swimming, badminton, and tennis, as well as fitness and hiking.

Learn more HERE.
26-28 October 2012
Bern, Switzerland

The success of the first edition of the QueergamesBern proved the need for an LGBT multisport event in Switzerland. This year will be even bigger, with badminton, bowling, running, walking, floorball.

Learn more HERE.
17-20 January 2013
Sin City Shootout
Las Vegas
The 7th Sin City Shootout will feature softball, ice hockey, tennis, wrestling, basketball, dodgeball, bodybuilding and basketball.

Learn more HERE.

13-16 June 2013
IGLFA Euro Cup
After this year's edition in Budapest at the EuroGames, the IGLFA Euro Cup heads to Dublin for 2013, hosted by the Dublin Devils and the Dublin Phoenix Tigers.

Learn more HERE.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Report on Panteresports 2010

A report from qSPORT's Zeljko Blace on this year's Panteresports tournament in Barcelona, with a focus on volleyball:

There is no city that identifies with international sport as much as Barcelona. Beyond the fame of its football and basketball clubs, and the huge sport events that take place there each year, Barcelona will historically remain as a city that not only captured the Olympic spirit during Olympic games, but used it to re-develop and re-brand itself as city of Culture and Sports on the global map, and that has become a favorite venue for countless international conferences, fairs and shows.

Panteres Grogues (PG), or the "yellow panthers", started as informal beach volleyball group in 1994, founded by German and French expats living in Barcelona. It has exploded in past years in size, diversity of sports, and number of participants. After hosting the first EuroGames in the South of Europe in 2008 (with an amazing effort by a dedicated team of organizers), PG became by far the biggest Mediterranean LGBTQ club with over 100 volleyball players at all levels. Coming to a tournament here can compare to to no other place in Europe in terms of local participation (except maybe Milan at its best).

For its fourth edition, the Panteresports multi-sport tournament was bigger then ever, with 1000 participants. Registration took place in an amazing venue next to the bus station, which was packed with hundreds of people (volleyball alone had more than 200 participants, and swimming just under 200). The volleyball hall was just about the most amazing facility to play at in Mar Bella, as it not only offers regular-size courts with plenty of space around, but also seats for spectators on both sides, as well as one of the most popular beaches next door. In fact, most players come in days before or stay after and play beach volleyball, enjoying the local nude/gay beach right there.

Needless to say, for all of these reasons, team registration for fourlevels of volleyball was closed early in July. Level A is the level that usually fills last in Europe, and this time a few local B+ teams filled the gap. A few teams (like Roma Volley and Gate Milano) as well as individuals are frequent guests at this tournament. With A/B+/B/C levels each having seven teams, they played single sets among each other to establish four leaders that cross-played for medals (finals being played with 2 winning 25-point sets, 3rd place through 15th place). Play started as early as 9am (in a rainy morning) and was non-stop until around 18:30 (with a warm beach sunset), with no real lunch break, the only breaks being when teams were not playing or officiating. Tournament organizers' handling of food was exemplary: fresh, healthy, and delicious, with multiple food and drink options. This was done without much more money, but with far more care and preparation (compared to most Western/Northern tournaments where lunch is simply a sandwich).

Finally about the play itself... as half of the teams seem to have been from the host country, you might fear that this could be a boring tournament. But as were were in Spain, participants included many South Americans who do not play many tournaments outside Spain. Most teams are quite short in height, but with very athletic players with good volleyball skills. It also means that the average age is much lower than in other tournaments (players in their late twenties and early thirties were common, with very few over-40 players). Very few of the teams included girls, but the ones that were there played important roles. Some players teamed up based on their ethnic background or the fact that they have played and trained together for a long time (which meant that they would include A/B+/B- players in one team). To my great disappointment, Team Phoenix USA in A level was not from Phoenix or even from USA, but was made up of Barcelona-based Peruvians. So no cowboys for me!

In such an atmosphere you can enjoy volleyball at its best. Due to the speed of tournament play, I didn't have the time to watch the other games, but it seemed like most teams were close in quality, with all finals being played in three sets. And to the surpise of many, in the Level A final, we found the heavy favorite Roma Volley playing against PG Peru, who managed to take one set. Third place went to Polish Volup playing with free-players setter Giuseppe and spiker Steve. Fourth went to a fairly unmotivated team, who lost its chance for the finals due to referee errors, Queer Sport Team, made up of indpendent Italian, Swiss and Croatian players. Last place went to teams from Barcelona and Bangala from Madrid.

After the tournament it was time to party at the local ARENA Vip disco (not my favorite music or location) all night long. Brunch took place not at last year's amazing restaurant in Barceloneta, but to a self-service catering at Mar Bella. The quality wasn't as high, but it was another chance to greet with all on the beach.



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