Jason Smyth won his fifth Paralympic title at Rio 2016 ©Getty Images

Ireland’s five-time Paralympic gold medallist Jason Smyth has questioned why he was not invited to take part in a "Lap of Legends" event at Windsor Park in Belfast on Saturday (October 8).

The event was aimed at marking the redevelopment of the stadium, which is home to the Northern Ireland national football team.

Legally blind sprinter Smyth, who completed a hat-trick of men’s T13 100 metres gold medals at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games last month, suggested he was not invited as he competes for the Republic of Ireland and not Great Britain.

Northern Ireland's status as a part of the United Kingdom is disputed with its athletes representing both sides of the border.

He tweeted: "Only in NI does the colours you wear mean more than what you achieve! Do you think we will ever move on."

Speaking to the BBC, Smyth elaborated on the comment by saying there are four Paralympic gold medallists from Northern Ireland, including his Republic of Ireland colleague Michael McKillop.

Skier Kelly Gallagher and swimmer Bethany Firth, who both competed for Team GB, the Great Britain and Northern Ireland Olympic Team, are the other two.

Both Gallagher and Firth were invited to attend the event, which also featured fellow Irish sport stars Carl Frampton, a boxer, and 1972 Olympic pentathlon champion Dame Mary Peters.

"My question was - what is the difference between those two girls being there and us two not," Smyth told the BBC.

The Irish Football Association, who arranged the event, responded by saying they had not meant any offence and that Smyth would be welcomed to Windsor Park in the future.

"The idea of the lap of legends was to bring some famous fans from the world of sport, TV and music together in one place, along with other supporters and the football family, to celebrate the opening of the new National Football Stadium at Windsor Park," an Irish FA spokesman told Belfast Live.

"There was a short 20-minute window in which to stage the event, so we were limited in terms of the number of people that we could invite.

"We did not intend to cause any offence to Jason or anyone else who was not part of the pre-match event.

"The Irish FA would be delighted to welcome Jason to the National Football Stadium at Windsor Park in the future."

The Lap of Legends event took place ahead of the men’s national football team’s FIFA World Cup qualifier against San Marino.

Northern Ireland won the match 4-0, with Kyle Lafferty scoring twice.