KATHMANDU, Oct 11: Former Olympic champion Greg Louganis is in the capital to show his support for the First South Asian LGBTI Sports Festival, which is all set to kick off at the Dasharath Stadium on Friday.
Louganis, an openly gay athlete who won gold medals at the 1984 and 1988 Olympic Games in diving, is the only male and the second diver in Olympic history to sweep diving golds in consecutive Olympic Games.
The 52-year-old is the co-author of the best-selling autobiography ´Breaking the Surface´ co-written with Eric Marcus, which recounts his story after he tested positive for HIV in 1988.
Louganis is also an outspoken advocate of HIV awareness.
On Friday, the American athlete will grace the opening ceremony of the Sports Festival - the first of its kind in South Asia - which will see the participation of 280 LGBTI athletes from Nepal, India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.
The three-day event organized by Blue Diamond Society (BDS) is aimed at ascertaining the rights, equality and social justice of the LGBTIs through the medium of sports, according to BDS Managing Director Sunilbabu Pant.
“We also want to show that the gender minorities are as capable as others when it comes to sports,” said Pant.
The Sports Festival includes five games - volleyball, football, basketball, kabaddi and athletics (100 m, 800 m, 1500 m races, 4X100 m relay, javelin throw).
Nepal Sports Foundation is looking after the management of the Sports Festival, which is being organized with support from the embassies of Australia, USA and Norway.
The envoys from the three embassies are expected during Friday´s opening ceremony at the Dasharath Stadium.