By Mike Rowbottom in Athens

David Beckham_16-05-12May 16 - David Beckham will attend the Olympic Flame Handover Ceremony here and fly back with the Flame before it starts its 70-day journey to the Olympic Stadium in Stratford.

He will join the official delegation which will be led by British Olympic Association (BOA) President and London 2012 Board Member HRH The Princess Royal, chair of London 2012 Sebastian Coe, Minister for Sport and the Olympics Hugh Robertson and Mayor of London Boris Johnson.

Beckham (pictured above), who was part of the successful London 2012 bid team in 2005 and is a London 2012 Ambassador, will be joined by five young people invited to take part by London 2012 and the British Council in recognition of their commitment to sport and their role in promoting the Olympic values of friendship, excellence and respect within their school or college.

The young people will also be on board the BA2012 flight carrying the Olympic Flame from Athens to RNAS Culdrose landing on Friday (May 18) evening.

The youngsters have been selected from schools and colleges involved in the London 2012 Get Set Education programme and school linking programmes run by the British Council.

As well as visiting some of the schools in Athens they are linked with, the young people are set to have a starring role in the Handover Ceremony expected to start at 19:00pm local Greek time (17:00pm BST) tomorrow evening at the Panathenaic Stadium (pictured below).

Panathenaic Stadium_16-05-12
Coe (pictured bottom, right, with Beckham) said: "We wanted to involve young people from across the United Kingdom in bringing home the Olympic Flame.

"Their stories of personal achievement and contribution to sport echo the 8,000 inspiring Torchbearer stories that will be shared from this weekend and over the next ten weeks in the build up to the start of the Games.

"Working with one of our most inspiring sportspeople is also fitting for this hugely exciting time for the London 2012 Games."

Representing Scotland is rugby player Dennis Coles, 17, from Doon Academy, Dalmellington, East Ayrshire; representing Northern Ireland is talented hockey player Chloe Brown, 18, from South Eastern Regional College, Bangor and representing Wales is Swansea Harriers athlete and Mumbles Rangers FC player Sean White, 17, from Bishop Vaughan Catholic School in Swansea. 

Representing Cornwall where the Olympic Flame arrives and starts its 70-day journey is Falmouth ladies hockey player Georgia Higgs, 15, from Helston Community College and School Sports Ambassador and athlete Sakinah Muhammad, 15, from Clapton Girls' Academy, Hackney represents London where the Olympic Flame will light the cauldron signifying the start of the Olympic Games on the evening of July 27.

Paul Docherty, director UK 2012 at the British Council, said: "The British Council is delighted to be part of this historic occasion, enabling young people from across the UK to participate in the Handover ceremony and to meet Greek youngsters from their partner schools.

"The London 2012 Games offer a great opportunity for people in the UK and around the world to develop a better understanding of each other and build lasting relationships. 

"Our school linking projects help make that happen."

Coles said: "Going to Athens is a fantastic opportunity, and to be part of such an historic ceremony representing my school and country, fills me with pride and excitement.

"This is the chance of a lifetime and I look forward to becoming even more involved in the Get Set London 2012 work in my school when I return."

david beckham_and_sebastian_coe_16-05-12
Brown commented: "I have been selected for this trip as through my involvement in sport and through my studies, I show the Olympic values of excellence, friendship and respect.

"Playing hockey has taught me these three important aspects.

"I am really looking forward to the Olympic Games and the Olympic Flame handover will be an amazing event which I am very honoured to be involved in."

White added: "I am really excited about visiting Greece and seeing Athens, the home of the Olympic Games.

"I am looking forward to the Ceremony and to taking the Flame back to the UK in preparation for the Olympic Games. 

"I am really excited about coming home and sharing my experience, both in school, my running club and in the wider community and hope that this will help people to become even more excited and enthusiastic about the Olympic Games."

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