Organisers have announced that more than 1 700 athletes have registered to participate in the 2010 Gay Games in Cologne, Germany.

The LGBT athletes will represent more than 30 countries at the quadrennial sports and cultural event set to take place next July and August.

Participation by the host country Germany leads all other nations with registrations from the United States and The Netherlands following close behind.

“Registrations have increased substantially in the last few months,” said Annette Wachter, CEO of Games Cologne. “Summer LGBT sports programs in North America and Europe have helped drive registrations from the USA, Canada and Europe. The approach of the southern hemisphere’s summer has also increased registrations from Australia and South Africa. We are on target to have participation levels of 8,000 to 10,000 next July and August in Cologne.”

Two sports – golf and sailing – are nearing capacity. There are 34 sports and four cultural events being offered at the event.

“Now is the time to register for the 2010 Gay Games,” urged Kurt Dahl and Emy Ritt, co-presidents of the Federation of Gay Games (FGG).

“Early registration secures a participant’s spot in a sport or cultural event that may otherwise sell out, and allows Cologne to better plan for next summer’s 8th Gay Games.”

FGG delegates from around the world will get a chance to review Cologne’s preparations as they head to the German host city, from September 26 to October 2, for its Annual meeting.

The Gay Games VIII run from July 31 to August 7, 2010, and will open with an opening ceremony at RheinEnergie Stadium. Up to 48,000 people are expected at the Opening Ceremony according to Andrea Müller, head of the Games Cologne Ceremony and Culture Task Force.

Entertainment has not yet been announced but past Gay Games performers have included Tina Turner, Cyndi Lauper, Kylie Minogue, Erasure’s Andy Bell and Heather Small.

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