Hackney athlete is first Olympics ambassador

PARALYMPIC swimmer Dervis Konuralp has been appointed as Hackney’s first Olympic and Paralympic Ambassador.

The 27-year-old athlete will work to engage young people and promote the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games by attending events and telling his inspirational story.

Dervis, who has a visual impairment, has two bronze Paralympic medals and 35 international competition medals. He is currently training at the London Fields Lido for the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games, and hopes to bring back a gold medal for the 100m butterfly.

Dervis, who has lived in Hackney all his life, said: “Sport is so accessible for children and is another means of achievement for them. It has helped me so much and I hope it can do the same for other young people.

“Not everyone will be a top class athlete who wins medals, but that doesn’t matter. What matters is encouraging everyone to get involved and become active at some level. The 2012 Games can inspire people of all ages and abilities to start taking getting active now.”

Mayor of Hackney, Jules Pipe, said: “Dervis is a talented athlete who has already achieved a great deal. I cannot think of a better role model to encourage our young residents to become inspired by the 2012 Games and get involved in sport and physical activity.”