Now that the dust has finally settled on a fabulous few days at the 2019 EuroGames it's time to reflect on what an amazing experience it was for Team Ireland.
More than 100 Irish athletes and supporters flocked to Rome to participate in the 17th edition of the EuroGames in July 2019. With temperatures soaring past 30 degrees the Irish athletes were facing a battle against more than just their opponents as sunburn and heat stroke threatened to outdo competitors. However, the success of Team Ireland at the games reflected not only the athletic abilities of some of our LGBTQ+ athletes but also the determination of those who took part to do their best in spite of the challenges that greeted them.
The opening ceremony at Stadio Tre Fontane was the beginning of a much anticipated event for more than 1500 athletes from around the globe. Team Ireland marched proudly together in front of an enthusiastic audience, one of the many highlights of an eventful few days.
As the Games began good news was filtering in right from day one as the medals we had hoped for became reality. Swimming was our most successful event, with 9 golds and 4 silvers taken home by two competitive male athletes in a variety of different events.
Track and field events attracted a larger number of Irish participants which resulted in more success for the team. A number of Golds, silvers and bronze were taken home in events such as the 800m and 1500m track and field events, as well as the 5km run and relay event.
Not to be outdone, our female athletes also went on to win medals with our Cork representatives picking up gold in the women's doubles while a bronze was proudly taken home by one of our Dublin based Flaming Feathers!
The Dublin Devils may have been feeling the heat but that didn't stop them from taking home bronze in the men's 5 a side competition to bring the medal tally over the 30 mark!
The women were also well represented in soccer with two teams travelling to Rome to represent Team Ireland, Occasionally United and The Dolly Mixtures. Both teams progressed as far to the quarter finals but no medals were taken home this year, meaning they'll be even more motivated in their quest for silverware in Dusseldorf 2020!
The Pink Ladies hockey team also did a fantastic job of representing their country, sending over two teams, the Pinks and the Ladies! Gold was taken home in the fancy dress competition at the Pink Hockey party, another win of a different kind but we'll take all the wins we can get!
Rumours afloat that there will be a men's hockey team set up in time for next years tournament, fingers crossed!
In addition to the competition some of Team Ireland found time for a reception in the Irish Embassy at Villa Spada, nestled in the beautiful hills above Rome where they discussed sport, Italian history and talked of their hopes for their various events. What a joy it was to be welcomed as sports representatives of our country in such a wonderful setting.
The games can only be described as a positive and memorable experience for everyone who took part. Onwards and upwards for Team Ireland as we work towards building an even bigger team of LGBTQ+ athletes for next years tournament!
Next years games will take place in Dusseldorf, Germany from August 5th to August 9th. If you are interested in taking part, joining a sports club or starting a new one please get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org
*Thank you to Jon Vera Cruz for allowing us to use some of his beautiful photography throughout this article