UN official calls on young Olympians to help improve their home communities

18 August 2010

The thousands of athletes competing in the first-ever Youth Olympic Games, currently under way in Singapore, should use their experiences at the event to help promote change and improvement in their local communities, a senior United Nations official said today.

Wilfried Lemke, the Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on Sport for Development and Peace, called on the estimated 3,600 participants to serve as socially responsible figures when they return from the competition.

“This is a unique opportunity for young athletes to look beyond sports competitions and to get exposed to pressing global issues,” said Mr. Lemke at a workshop run by the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) on the sidelines of the Youth Olympics in Singapore.

The 12-day Games contain a cultural and education programme that is designed to help the young athletes to better understand key issues, such as the importance of leading healthy lifestyles, avoiding doping and acting in a socially responsibly way.

Mr. Lemke also attended a workshop run by the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) and toured the Olympic Village and various booths run by UN agencies, including UNAIDS, UNICEF and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP).

“Your experiences here will enable you to act as ambassadors when you return to your communities by sharing what you have learned and encouraging those around to be agents of change,” the Special Adviser told some of the competitors.

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