By Nick Butler

The ANOC Youth Working Group pose with secretary general Gunilla Lindberg during the meeting ©ANOC"Exciting discussions" have taken place at the first meeting of the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC) Youth Working Group in London, it has been claimed. 

The 13-strong group, chaired by Sebastian Coe, the double Olympic 1500 metres gold medallist and former chairman of London 2012 , consists of two young representatives from Azerbaijan, Brazil, Jordan, Palau, South Africa and Britain.

It has been described as an integral part of ANOC's modernisation drive under Sheikh Ahmad Al Fahad Al Sabah.

This illustrated by the the presence of ANOC secretary general Gunilla Lindberg at the meeting.

In particular, the organisation is reaching out to young people to provide guidance on how it can support the world's National Olympic Committees in increasing youth engagement and participation, it is claimed. 

Taking place so shortly after the conclusion of the Summer Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, each of the young representatives duly proposed activities that NOCs should engage in to ensure young people are kept at the heart of sport.

This will help, it is hoped, with the wider aim in the Olympic Movement of getting young people "off the couch" and participating in sporting activity.

Inspiring the young athletes who competed in the recent Summer Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing will be one aim of the Youth Commission ©Getty ImagesInspiring the young athletes who competed in the recent Summer Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing will be one aim of the Youth Commission ©Getty Images

In time, it is hoped the Group will also be chaired by a young representative, but for now Coe is taking on the role to offer guidance, and he gave delighted feedback following the first meeting.

"I am very happy with the progress that we have made during these exciting discussions," said the 57-year-old, a colleague of International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach on the inaugural IOC Athletes' Commission in Baden Baden in 1981.

"I don't think we could have found a more diverse and interesting group and this was reflected in the innovative ideas that were proposed over the last few days.

"Over the next few months we will consolidate our ideas and proposals into a coherent action plan which will be presented to the ANOC General Assembly in Bangkok in November.

"We have so much to learn from young people and they have so much to contribute.

"They can help us identify the challenges they face and understand more about the fast-paced world that they live in.

"The young people of today face many pressures and there are many distractions which may lead them away from a life of sport.

"It is imperative that we understand these distractions and realise what tools we can utilise to ensure that these young people turn towards, and not away from, sport."

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