Belfast is to host one of the world's most unique sporting events this summer - the World Dwarf Games.
More than 200 athletes of restricted growth, from 15 countries, will take part in nine sports at the fifth games being held over a week from 27 July, it was announced today.
The competitions will be held at the Mary Peters Track in south Belfast, the University of Ulster's Jordanstown campus and Larne Leisure Centre.
Lord Mayor Naomi Long paid tribute to the Dwarf Athletic Association of Northern Ireland who had been successful in bringing the games to Belfast.
She said: "Through their hard work and dedication, DAANI gives people with restricted growth conditions the opportunity to get more involved in mainstream sports and outdoor activity."
Ms Long added: "Events like this are important to Belfast and its economy, and the council is extremely pro-active in attracting high profile events to the city.
"Our research indicates that every £1 we spend on hosting major international events generates £42 in income for the city."
The chief executive of Sport Northern Ireland, Eamonn McCartan , added: "This promises to be an exciting and unique event, once again affording Belfast, and Northern Ireland as a whole, a valuable opportunity to showcase itself on the international stage as an ideal venue for world class sporting events."
The first World Dwarf Games was held in Chicago in 1993. They were then held in England in 1997, Canada in 2001 and France in 2005.
In 2006 Belfast hosted the first European Championships which attracted more than 100 athletes from eight countries.
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