Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has opened the Special Olympics Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Regional Games in Cairo, in what is seen as a major boost for disabled sport in the African nation.
The Games, which features athletes with intellectual disabilities, consists of competitors from 15 different countries competing across a total of 16 different sports.
Sisi, the former chief of the Egyptian Armed Forces who was sworn in as President in June, was urged to attend by a called to a television show he was speaking on.
Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab, Defense Minister Sedki Sobhi and Minister of Sports Khalid Abdel Aziz were also in attendance, as well as various high-level representatives from the other participating nations.
"It is a great honour for Egypt to host such an event," Abdel-Aziz said afterwards.
"His Excellency issued directives that all the needs of the Egyptian intellectually disabled team should be met in addition to removing all obstacles facing the delegation.
"These players are part of the Egyptian society and they have equal rights that should be taken care of."
The inaugural Special Olympics MENA Games were held in Cairo in 1999, with Tunisia, Rabat, Dubai and Syrian capital Damascus among other previous hosts.
It is hoped the Games will continue to facilitate regional improvement at the Paralympic Games, with Egypt winning four gold medals at London 2012, where Morocco, Tunisia, Algieria, Iraq and United Arab Emirates also featured on the medals table.