A qualifying event for the 2012 Paralympic Games will be held in Northern Ireland, Sports Minister Nelson McCausland has announced.
The Boccia World Cup will take place at the University of Ulster in Jordanstown.
Boccia is a target ball game belonging to the same family as bowls and is a Paralympic sport for athletes with severe disabilities affecting motor skills.
The university beat off rival bids from countries such as the United States to host the event this August.
Mr McCausland said the announcement would be the first of many his department is expecting to make that will show Northern Ireland is playing a significant role in London 2012.
“Through this competition, from August 18-27 this year, over 500 competitors and coaches from over 30 countries will be in Northern Ireland to compete for qualifying positions in the 2012 Paralympic Games,” he said as he was joined by Boccia athletes in the Long Gallery at Stormont.
“This summer we hope to announce a sailing event for Olympic teams and a further programme of Paralympic events.
“We are in discussions with several Olympic and Paralympic teams with an outlook to train here in Northern Ireland next year,” said Mr McCausland.