Twelve ambassadors will help to train athletes during the Fortaleza 2015 Youth School Games ©Brazilian Olympic Committee

Student athletes competing in the Fortaleza 2015 Youth School Games are receiving support from several Brazilian Olympians, who have been signed up as part of the event's ambassadors programme.

Among the 12 ambassadors are Athens 2004 men’s marathon bronze medallist Vanderlei Cordeiro de Lima and Olympic volleyball gold medallist Hélia Fofão, who are helping to train several of the 3,800 athletes competing in the Brazilian city.

Vanderlei Cordeiro de Lima is the only Brazilian to be have awarded the Pierre de Coubertin medal by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for his sportsmanship, after he had been attacked by an Irish priest when leading the marathon at the Athens Olympics, which contributed to him eventually dropping to third place.

The Brazilian outlined his aim to help inspire young athletes who are competing at the Games, which take place until September 12.

"I feel much honoured to be a Youth School Games ambassador," he said. 

"For me, this is a great mission, quite a responsibility.

"I feel privileged for being asked to share my story and encourage the thousands of young people participating in the event."

He is joined on the ambassador programme by several other Olympic and Pan American Games competitors including badminton player Luiz Henrique Dias dos Santos Junior, basketball’s Josuel Santos, cyclist Ana Paula Casetta, rhythmic gymnast Luisa Harumi Matsuo and handball’s Deborah Hannah.

Athens 2004 men's marathon bronze medallist Vanderlei Cordeiro de Lima is one of the ambassadors for the Games
Athens 2004 men's marathon bronze medallist Vanderlei Cordeiro de Lima is one of the ambassadors for the Games ©AFP/Getty Images

The list of ambassadors is completed by judoka Luciano Correa, wrestler Antoine Jaoude, swimmer Joanna Maranhão, volleyball’s Hélia Rogerio de Souza Pinto-Fofão, table tennis player Ligia Silva and fustal star Franklin Roosevelt Bueres Junior.

The programme aims to encourage young people to practice sports by delivering lectures and cultural activities during the largest school sporting event in the country, which is organised and delivered by the Brazil Olympic Committee.

Thirteen sports are taking place at the Games with the student athletes competing in athletics, badminton, cycling, rhythmic gymnastics, judo, wrestling, swimming, table tennis, chess, basketball, futsal, handball and volleyball.

Several events are also running alongside the sporting action with a socio-educational and cultural programme delivering a number of extra activities targeted at making young people from around the country aware of the Olympic values.

The general theme of the Games is "Gender Equality", with the Games' Conviviality Centre providing United Nations’ Women content.