By Duncan Mackay

Gay Games 2018June 1 - London and Paris are set to go head-to-head to host the 2018 Gay Games after both cities were shortlisted, alongside Limerick.

The Federation of Gay Games (FGG) announced that the three cities had been put forward to the next stage of the bid process as Amsterdam and Orlando were cut.

The three finalists collected the most votes from among the members of the FGG's site selection assembly during an online poll.

"Ever since competitive bidding to host the Gay Games began for Gay Games IV, ultimately won by New York 1994, we have faced the welcome challenge of choosing from among several qualified bidders," said Dennis Sneyers, the American who is the officer for site selection at the FGG 

"This cycle has brought us particularly outstanding bids from Amsterdam, Limerick, London, Orlando and Paris.

"Each group has brought a truly distinctive take on what the Gay Games can be, and has enriched our own thinking about our event.

"All have been highly professional and responsive to the demands of our bidding process."

The decision to shortlist both London and Paris promises a re-run of the race to host the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics, which the British capital won despite its French counterpart having been the favourite.

London's plan for the 2018 Gay Games - which would be expected to attract more than 11,000 athletes from nearly 100 countries - includes using several of the venues built for the Olympics and Paralympics, including the Olympic Stadium, Aquatics Centre and Velodrome. 

London 2012 Olympic Stadium at nightFacilities built for the the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics would form the centrepiece if London is chosen to host the 2018 Gay Games ahead of rivals Limerick and Paris

"This is fantastic news and a testimony to the hard work of the London Gay Games bid team," said London Mayor Boris Johnson after the announcement of the shortlist.

"London could host a world-beating event in 2018, underlining our city's reputation as a tolerant place to live and visit.

"I wish London's organising team every success as they progress to this next crucial stage of the selection process."

An evaluation process is scheduled to be carried out by the FGG next month with the decision due to be announced during the Annual General Assembly in Cleveland, Ohio, on October 10.

Cleveland is due to co-host the 2014 Gay Games with Akron.

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