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Topics In the News
 
Manchester Welcomes Bingham Cup VI
Posted by: Claude J. Summers on 05/29/12
Last updated on: 05/29/12
 
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Mark Bingham with his mother.

Beginning on June 1, 2012, Manchester will host the Bingham Cup, the world championship of gay and inclusive rugby teams, named after gay hero Mark Bingham who died aboard United Airlines Flight 93 on September 11, 2001. The tournament, which runs for three days, is the largest men's 15-aside rugby union tournament in the sporting calendar outside of the IRB Rugby World Cup. More than 30 teams from 15 countries will compete in Manchester 2012, the sixth Bingham Cup and the tenth anniversary of the competition.

Previous host cities include San Francisco, London, New York, Dublin, and Minneapolis. Defending champions are New York's Gotham Knights, which won Bingham Cup V in Minneapolis in 2010.

Among the U.S. teams competing in Bingham Cup VI are, in addition to the Gotham Knights, the Kansas City Carnivores, the Chicago Dragons, the St. Louis Crusaders, and the Minneapolis Mayhem.

The Bingham Cup is held biennially and is sponsored by the International Gay Rugby Association and Board (IGRAB), which was formed in 2002 to promote rugby as an all-inclusive non-discriminatory sport which everyone can play, regardless of sexuality.

The tournament was named after Mark Bingham, a former University of California, Berkeley rugby star who had played with the San Francisco Fog and co-founded the Gotham Knights.

Bingham was one of four young athletic men aboard Flight 93 who led the fight against hijackers who are believed to have been intending to fly the plane into the White House or the U.S. Capitol. As a result of their intervention, the flight crashed into a vacant field in Pennsylvania.

At Bingham Cup VI, a screening will be held of the documentary With You: The Mark Bingham Story, Scott Gracheff's feature-length documentary focusing on the unique bond between Mark Bingham and his mother Alice Hoagland.

Thrust into the national spotlight by the devastating loss of her son, Hoagland has become a champion of glbtq rights

Other celebrity participants in the tournament are former rugby superstars Gareth Thomas, who came out publicly in 2009, and Ben Cohen, a straight ally whose Stand Up Foundation works to end bullying and homophobia in sports.

Thomas and Cohen reportedly lobbied the IGRAB to bring the Bingham Cup to Manchester. Thomas recently told an interviewer, "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."

Below is a trailer for With You: The Mark Bingham Story.

 
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