Kazan in Russia has been announced as the host of the 2022 Special Olympics World Winter Games.
The Special Olympics International Board of Directors were seeking a new host for the event after Sweden withdrew from holding the competition in 2021.
Kazan was selected due to the city’s previous experience in hosting large international sporting events, alongside the support from local, state, and national Governments in Russia.
It is also hoped that the Games will transform attitudes about intellectual disabilities in Russia.
Special Olympics Russia has been active for more than two decades and has 128,000 athletes taking part in sport and competition across the country.
This only represents four per cent of the estimated three million people with intellectual disabilities in Russia, however.
One of the key aims of the Games will be to grow athlete numbers to 200,000 and expand into all 85 regions of Russia by 2025.
There will also be a focus on the development and expansion of the Unified Sports programme, where athletes with and without intellectual disabilities compete together.
"We are thrilled to host the Special Olympics World Winter Games 2022," Special Olympics Russia President Olga Slutsker said.
"Hosting this prestigious and deeply significant event gives us the opportunity to show Russia and the world that people with intellectual disabilities are capable of competing at the highest levels of sport.
"It will demonstrate the power of our movement not only as a sports organisation but also as a leader in the drive towards a truly inclusive world."
Kazan has hosted events such as the World Summer University Games in 2013, the World Aquatics Championships in 2015 and the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
Two thousand Special Olympics athletes and Unified Sports partners from 108 nations are set to travel to the Russian city to compete at the World Winter Games.
"Hosting the Special Olympics World Winter Games 2022 adds Kazan to an elite group of international cities leading the inclusion charge for people with intellectual disabilities," said Special Olympics chief executive Mary Davis.
"The global Special Olympics movement has confidence in Kazan’s ability to host a world-class Games that deliver a lasting impact.
"Congratulations to Kazan!"
The event does not seem to be impacted by the ban on Russia from hosting major events for four years, announced in 2019 after the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) declared the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) non-compliant.
The punishment is yet to come into force, with RUSADA due to appeal the decision from WADA at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.