The World Outgames 2009, a celebration of gay sport and cultural diversity, kicks off today in the Copenhagen.

The games were officially started with an opening ceremony on Saturday night, which saw a 50-metre ‘catwalk’ extended from the front of the city’s town hall, and participants from 98 countries parading down it.

The event is being held against a backdrop of cultural and human rights, with a mayoral conference being held with leaders from all over the world to discuss LGBT rights.

Uffe Elbeak, director of the Outgames, called it “the Olympics in 3D, where sport is accompanied by two equally important dimensions: a wide-ranging cultural programme and a human rights conference”.

The competition will take place over nine days, and will include 38 sports, including wrestling, football, swimming and dancing tournaments .

The opening ceremony, however, was marred by an attack on three participants of the Outgames, including one British man, just outside of the ceremony’s civic venue.

Two men have been arrested and the victims, from Sweden, Norway and UK, have received hospital treatment.

A member of the Canadian curling team told Danish TV: “Obviously it’s scary. That fear will haunt you forever. Hate crimes go beyond bruises, go beyond broken bones and they affect you as an individual and it scars you for life.”

The day ended with an official after-party to the commencement, with Danish Singer Annisette, backed by a 100-man choir, performing took the official theme song of the World Outgames 2009, ‘Freedom to Love’.