Rugby Gods Ben Cohen, Gareth Thomas Cheer Tournament, Inclusiveness in Sports
Come June 1, jetloads of rugged rugger men from around the world will descend upon Manchester, England for the 2012 Bingham Cup, the now world-famous gay-inclusive tournament which numbers over a thousand players and a hundred times as many fans. Among the dozens of competing teams will be a clutch of top US clubs, including the Atlanta Bucks, Boston Ironsides, Chicago Dragons, Dallas Diablos, Denver’s Colorado Rush, Kansas City Carnivores,Los Angeles Rebellion, Mayhem RFC (Minnesota), San Francisco Fog, St. Louis Crusaders, Washington Renegades, and 2010 Bingham Cup winners, the Gotham Knights.
“We’ll be celebrating with a sport I love, which is rugby. Rugby is very diverse anyway; it takes all shapes and sizes to play. It’s a sport that’s played by all and it’s very good to see that it’s really big in the gay community,” British World Cup champion, (straight) gay activist and all round babe, Ben Cohen told MSN UK, looking forward to The Bingham Cup.
Cohen, who is married with two beautiful daughters, admirably retired from rugby in just over a year ago to raise a family and focus on his StandUp Foundation-- which promotes gay inclusiveness in all sports.
The Bingham Cup is named after gay rugby player Mark Bingham who died on United Airlines Flight 93 on September 11, 2001. The tournament has grown from six teams in 2002 to the 33 teams and over 1000 players 10 countries expected to participate in the 2012 event. Previous host cities included San Francisco, Dublin, New York and Minneapolis. A screening of the With You documentary about Mark Bingham will take place during the tournament weekend.
Fellow Brit gay activist and former British Lions captain Gareth Thomas—recently hailed as the most influential gay man in the UK—championed bringing the Bingham Cup to Manchester, said, “I’m passionate that anyone, regardless of their background, should be able to play rugby. Events such as the Bingham Cup help break down barriers and bring more people into our great sport.”