By Duncan Mackay

Paris will host the 2018 Gay Games after beating rivals London and LimerickOctober 7 - Paris were today awarded the 2018 Gay Games ahead of Limerick and London, it has been announced.

The decision was announced by the Federation of Gay Games (FGG) at its Annual General Assembly in Cleveland today.

The international delegates and board of directors of the FGG voted at the end of a three-day meeting featuring site inspection reports, question-and-answer sessions, committee reviews and, a highlight of the event, the oral presentation by each bidding organisation.

"The vote is the result of dozens of individual choices, but some points stood out for many voters," said David Killian, co-chair of the FGG Site Selection Committee.

"Paris proposed a wide range of sports in quality venues, many of which offer good visibility for the event.

"French LGBT sport organisations already have a great deal of experience hosting international multisport tournaments, and their LGBT community presents outstanding cultural events.

"They are already well advanced in planning, for example, with the designation of a dedicated sports manager.

"They arrived with demonstrable political support, including Minister for Sport Valerie Fourneyron and five-time Olympic fencing medalist Laura Flessel, who were part of the presentation team.

"And of course Paris is a great destination to visit or revisit."

It was Paris' second bid to host the Games.

They had previously bid for the 2010 event, which was awarded to Cologne.

The French capital had lost that campaign in 2005, the same year the city had been defeated by London for the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics.

Paris celebrate after winning its bid to host the 2018 Gay GamesParis celebrate after winning its bid to host the 2018 Gay Games

The presence of French Sports Minister Fourneyron and double Olympic gold medal winning fencer Laura Flessel, who carried her country's flag at the Opening Ceremony of London 2012, was a major factor in Paris' victory on this occasion. 

Fourneyron took to Twitter to express her delight.

She Tweeted: "A long-awaited and much-deserved victory @ ParisGames2018 CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL! # enthusiasm # determination. Happy to be with you!"

But there was praise from FGG Co-President Kurt Dahl for the defeated cities Limerick and London, who had planned to use many of the facilities built for last year's Olympics and Paralympics, including the main Stadium.

"The quality of bids for 2018 was superb," he said.

"We thank the teams from Limerick and London for taking part in the Gay Games X bidding process.

"Their communities should be proud of the detailed plans and enormous heart they showed in their proposals.

"It's a real demonstration how deeply important the Gay Games has become over the years that so many talented people from around the world want to carry on its legacy."

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