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Limerick gay games committee finalise plans for site visit

Team Ireland, GG Cologne 2010 (Picture by Kelly Stevens)

The bid committee behind Limerick’s 2018 Gay Games Bid are busy finalising plans ahead of the visit of the Federation of Gay Games (FGG) Site Selection Committee to the Treaty City on July 3rd. On June 1st it was announced that Limerick along with London and Paris had been shortlisted from a long listed that also included Amsterdam, Orlando, Rio De Janeiro & São Paulo. If successful the event will see 10-12,000 participants and 15,000 spectators in Limerick during a 10 day period in August 2018.

The Gay Games are an international sporting and cultural event held every four years. Launched in 1982, the Games invite participation from all competitors regardless of sexual orientation, race, gender, religion, nationality, ethnic origin, political beliefs, athletic or artistic ability, age, physical challenge or health status. The Games also offer a safe environment for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered participants. They are open to anyone 18 years or older. About 10% of participants are from outside the LGBT community. They are the largest sporting & cultural festival in the world open to all.

Cheer GG Colgne 2010 (Picture by Andreas Hebestriet)

On July 3rd the committee members will arrive in Limerick in preparation for the site visit which begins in July 4th and will run until July 7th. They will be made up of 2 members of the FGG, an American Sports Journalist and the former CEO of Games Cologne – the host city for 2010’s Gay Games. The will also be joined by a Canadian LGBT activist who will be blogging the entire site visit via social media.

Speaking about being shortlisted, Communications Coordinator for the bid Cillian Flynn said

“We are delighted to have advanced to the next stage of the bidding process – we have been working on this bid for the last 12 months and to be chosen along with London & Paris is phenomenal. We believe that Limerick has the facilities, the resources and the determination to be successful. Limerick will become a sporting and cultural hub during August 2018 and the event will showcase the world class facilities on offer here in the region. We are passionate about what we have on offer here in Limerick and it’s about time the world got to see that we are a serious contender when it comes to holding world class sporting and cultural events”

A full Sporting & Cultural has been planned by the organising committee and will see 38 different events including; Swimming, Athletics, Sailing, Cycling, Golf, Martial Arts, Track & Field, Cheerleading, Dance and for the first time in Gay Games history Boxing & Wheelchair Quad Rugby, both of which were proposed by the Limerick team. The venues chosen to host these events will showcase the facilities on offer in Limerick. These include: University of Limerick & the UL Arena - where 65% of the planned events will take place, Adare Manor (Golf) Ballyhoura (Mountain Biking), Thomond Park (Opening Ceremony), UL Adventure Centre in Killaloe (Triathlon, Open Water Swim, and Sailing), Limerick Lawn Tennis Club (Tennis), Mary Immaculate College (Badminton & Cultural Events), O’Brien’s Bridge (Rowing). Also being visited are a number of the cultural venues across the city including Hunt Museum, Limerick City Gallery of Art, Printmakers & Ormston House to name but a few.

The site selection committee are currently working with Adam Skerritt from Fáilte Ireland and the Shannon Region Conference & Sports Bureau in preparation of the site visit. Karen Brosnahan, Manager of Shannon Region Conference & Sports Bureau said

“The bureau have been working in partnership with Failte Ireland and the Limerick 2018 bid committee to ensure a really memorable trip to Limerick for the site inspection committee. They have a very busy schedule seeing over 25 venues plus hotels while her. We are doing our utmost to make sure they have a fun time in the process and get to experience what we are famous for, our hospitality and warm welcome. If secured this will be an incredible event both from an economic impact perspective and also in terms of putting Limerick on the map as the World Class destination it is for events”

Dance Sport M, GG Cologne 2010 (Picture by Ricky Amsterdam)

Once the site inspectors leave Limerick they will then head to Paris before ending their tour of shortlisted cities in London. Then Limerick must play the waiting game as the announcement of winning city won’t be made until October 7th as part of the Federation’s Annual Assembly in Cleveland, Ohio. An event that the Bid Committee must make a final presentation at to convince the voters that Limerick is the right choice. Kurt Dahl, Federation of Gay Games’ Co-President spoke of the next steps in the bidding process: “In early July a team of FGG site inspectors will be visiting Limerick, London & Paris. They will spend 3½ days in each city, visiting the key venues, meeting the leaders of the bidding organizations, and attending community events. At the end of these visits, the inspectors will prepare a report for the FGG site selection meeting which will take place at the Federation’s Annual General Assembly in early October in Cleveland, host of the 2014 Gay Games. After various committee reports, Q&A sessions, and the official bidder presentations, the voting members of the Assembly will choose the host of Gay Games X.”

The tourism revenue that an event on the sale of the 2018 Gay Games would be a major bonus to Limerick City, County and the entire Shannon Region as an estimated €50 Million will be spent during the games. The knock on effect is also unprecedented, as return trips to Ireland and the possibility of other events similar in size to the Gay Games being held in the Shannon Region become more realistic. All of this of course depends on the Site Selection Committee who will report back to the FGG members and a final vote will be taken in October as Team Limerick travel to Cleveland to hear the results. Visit www.limerick2018.com for more information on Limerick’s bid and if anyone is interested in getting involved in working with the bid committee please email volunteer@limerick2018.com

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