WITH just two months to go before Limerick submits its bid to host the Gay Games in 2018, Munster MEP and former GAA president Sean Kelly has lent political support to the campaign.
The city is vying with London, Amsterdam, Paris, Orlando, Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paolo for a sporting celebration that attracts in excess of 10,000 participants every four years.
“Hosting the tenth Gay Games would be a wonderful honour for Limerick which held the prestigious title of European City of Sport in 2011,” Mr Kelly said.
“Since 1982, the Gay Games have inspired equality and inclusiveness in society through sport. The Games define winning as achieving one’s personal best - that is an encouraging concept worthy of support. Sport has enormous power to build community spirit and bring people together as well as promoting positive physical and mental health and the Gay Games epitomises those objectives,” he added. The Limerick Gay Games bid steering group was set up last April and is a sub-committee of the Limerick Pride Festival, the annual celebration of LGBT culture on the streets of the city.
While it is competing with major international cities - including in London and Rio de Janeiro cities that in 2018 will have hosted the previous two Olympic Games - the steering group is confident the city has the facilities to host an event they say could attract up to 15,000 athletes in August 2018 and generate up to €80 million for the local economy.
They detail the world-class facilities at the University of Limerick Arena - which supports the bid - which will be augmented by the addition of a second pool and diving platform by the time the Games come round.
UL could act as an athletes village while accommodation could also be found in the city, Nenagh, Killaloe, Ennis, Shannon and Castleconnell.
Bid books have to be submitted to the Federation of Gay Games by February 28 and a shortlist of three cities will be selected on May 31.