International athletes joined young people from schools across the North at the Grand Opera House at a conference for Young Ambassadors.

The initiative used the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games to inspire more young people to take part in sport. It is continuing in 2013 with the World Police and Fire Games.

The Minister said: “The Young Ambassadors Programme is a particularly exciting one and uniquely inspired by the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. It is encouraging to see so many young people from schools across the north involved in the programme. I hope we can once again channel this in the run up to the World Police and Fire Games.”

The Young Ambassadors programme is in its third year in the north of Ireland and has, to date, focused on spreading the magic of the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympic Games. Following the success of London 2012, the initiative will now focus on creating a legacy from the 2013 World Police and Fire Games.

The Minister added: “You are inspirational young men and women – powerful advocates for sport, physical activity and a healthy lifestyle. You will bring this message to your peers and ensure it resonates before, during and after the competition. This has an effect not only in the present but it will help create a lasting legacy from the World Police and Fire Games.

“You are not only ambassadors for the Games, you are ambassadors for your schools, their communities and yourselves. And as we count down to the Games, we look forward to another terrific summer of sport shared with athletes from across the world. ”

The Young Ambassador initiative is managed by the Youth Sport Trust. Among the athletes running workshops at the conference were Olympic sprinter Jeannette Kwayke, Olympic fencer Johnny Davis and Commonwealth Gymnast Steve Frew.