Perth Pythons claim gold at Gay Games in Paris

Perth Pythons won gold at the Gay Games in Paris
Perth Pythons won gold at the Gay Games in Paris

ALL-INCLUSIVE hockey team Perth Pythons won gold at the 2018 Gay Games in Paris in a sudden death shootout.

The Pythons claimed victory against the undefeated London Royals after a 1-1 draw in regular time and scored three from three goals in the one-on-one shootouts.

The tournament was part of the 10th Gay Games that are held every four years to promote acceptance of sexual and gender diversity.

It was the Perth Pythons’ first appearance at the games.

Coach and captain Reid Smith said it was remarkable what the team had been able to achieve in such a short period of time.

“Some of our players hadn’t held a hockey stick 12 months ago, now they are international champions,” he said.

“Up against some quality and experienced opposition we just went into the finals with a positive attitude and a feeling that we had nothing to lose.

“I am beyond proud of each and every one of my teammates.”

Coach and captain Reid Smith with Ulises Painelaf

Perth Pythons player and committee member Leo Nelson said it was his first sporting competition ever.

“I never felt confident enough to participate in sporting competitions growing up and when the opportunity to compete with the Pythons came up, that little voice told me I couldn’t do it,” he said.

“But playing with the Pythons for the last two years has given me the confidence to quell that voice, and competing and winning in Paris with my best mates is one of the proudest moments.”

This year, more than 800 athletes represented Australia and a record 10,000 people competed in the games from around the world.

The Perth Pythons was established in 2016 as an all-inclusive sporting team and are planning Perth’s first Pride Sports Festival on November 17, which will involve the culmination of five local LGBTI sporting groups to celebrate Pride month.