Water Polo Taking 'Pride' in the LGBTI Community
29 January, 2016On Friday 5th February 2016 the National Water Polo League (NWPL) will host the inaugural Pride Cup. This event aims to promote and celebrate diversity and inclusion in sport and will showcase women’s and men’s elite water polo games between the Victorian Seals and the Brisbane based KFC Queensland Breakers, as well as LGBTI clubs Melbourne Surge and the Sydney Stingers, in what is being touted the 'Grudge Match'. The NWPL will become the first national competition to host a Pride Cup in it’s main season, with the AFL soon to follow suit in 2016. The NWPL Pride Cup will become a permanent fixture from 2016. The concept for the Pride Cup came from a series of events, stemming from a conversation between the Victorian Seals, Water Polo Victoria and equality pioneer Jason Ball. The conversation led to the realisation that there was an opportunity for Water Polo to do something to support the LGBTI community and continue to raise awareness, and build on the inclusive environment that Water Polo has created. At the Minister's event in August 2015 to announce that Melbourne would be the host for the NWPL finals in March 2016, it was also announced that the Pride Cup would run during the season. "The Pride Cup will send a clear message to the community that there is no room for discrimination in sport and that as a Victorian association we celebrate diversity, inclusion and equality" said Steve Blunt, Victorian Seals President. To help boost the profile of the event, the Victorian Seals and Melbourne Surge approached the organisers of Melbourne’s Midsumma Festival knowing that it aligned well to the direction the Festival was taking. The Pride Cup was made a Major event after the proposal was submitted, making it the first new major event since 1996. The Seals and Surge will both be taking part in the Pride March, another major event in the Midsumma calendar on Sunday 31 January. As part of gaining awareness for the Cup, there have been two campaigns:
- 'Wear the Cap' - you can see the pictures HERE
- 'Show your Colours' - in a push for all organisations, sports, and clubs alike to come out and support the Pride Cup wearing their colours.
- Coverage will start from 6:00 pm with the swim off for the women’s games at 6:10 pm
- The Grudge Match between the Melbourne Surge and Sydney Stingers will begin at 7:30 pm
- The men's game will commence at 8:20 pm with trophy presentations from 9:25 pm