Mayo athlete Paul Kavanagh was one of the 30 members of team Ireland who competed at the 2011 Special Olympics World Summer Games in Athens and who were celebrated at a special reception hosted by President Mary McAleese and Dr Martin McAleese on Wednesday.
Mr Kavanagh competed in table tennis at the world games.
President McAleese invited the athletes and their coaches to Áras an Uachtaráin to personally congratulate them on their wonderful achievements at the games in June and for representing Ireland so well on the international sporting stage.
Addressing the assembled gathering of athletes and coaches President McAleese said: “To get to the world summer games is itself a brilliant achievement and experience and I hope you all really enjoyed every minute of it, but of course it was no holiday and the months of training and preparation before hand took a lot of effort and organisation. So well done to you and to all the people who keep Special Olympics going at home all year round so that people can know the fun and fulfilment of taking part in sports, making friends, winning and losing, getting fit, getting really good at your sport, and getting so good that you are chosen to represent your country.”