The 7th Gay Games have come to an end in Chicago, with South Africa taking home at least twenty-five medals.

The 2006 Games concluded with an emotional and spectacular ceremony on Saturday, featuring Cindy Lauper performing for the crowd, at Wrigley Field.

Thousands of athletes from around 60 countries said their farewells as the Gay Games Flag was lowered and handed over to the host city for the 2010 event in Cologne, Germany.

At the conclusion of this year’s Games, South Africa has scored an impressive tally of medals: at least 15 gold, seven silver and three bronze.

The Chosen Few lesbian soccer team, who struggled to raise funds to attend the event and also faced difficulty in securing visas, concluded their first international outing with a bronze medal.

South African athletes are expected to begin arriving from Chicago this week.

The Chicago Gay Games have been seen as a success, despite the event moving to the city after a dispute with the original host, Montréal. The organisers succeeded in raising more sponsorship than ever before; it is expected that these will be the first Gay Games to not lose money.

The rival gay sporting festival, the first Outgames, will begin this coming weekend in Montréal.

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