Pythons pre­vail in Paris

Cockburn Gazette - - SPORT -

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.”

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

“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.”

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 is plan­ning Perth’s first Pride Sports Fes­ti­val on Novem­ber 17, which will in­volve five lo­cal LGBTI sport­ing groups to cel­e­brate Pride month.

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