Northern Ireland mini mascot named for Team GB ahead of Paris Olympics

An 11-year-old girl from Newtownabbey has been chosen to represent Northern Ireland as a mini mascot for Team GB as they prepare for the Paris Olympics.

Amelia Cropera - a talented dancer and gymnast - beat off competition from thousands of young hopefuls across the UK to be named among the final six children chosen to be official cheerleaders for the competitors.

Amelia and her family have known since November but have been under strict instructions to keep the news under wraps - until today.

The P7 student told UTV how thrilled she was to have been chosen.

''I am so excited but also still shocked that I was chosen for this opportunity,'' she said.

Her father Rodger Cropera said the family were extremely proud of their daughter who's been a member of local dance company Generation Dance and Fitness in Mallusk for several years.

''We are very proud of Amelia being chosen for this experience, she works so hard and really enjoys performing.''

''It's been difficult not telling anyone until today - all the media attention has been crazy,'' he added.

The pupil at Mossgrove primary has aspirations herself in one day taking part in the new event of 'breaking' or break-dancing which will be at the Games for the first time this summer.

''Yes maybe I will get to the Olympics one day and it's great they have it now as an event at the Games,'' she said.

Amelia may be awaiting her transfer results but she and her friends have been happily distracted with today's announcement.

The principal Elaine Sinton expressed how delighted everyone at the school was for Amelia and her achievement.

''Amelia really deserves this. She will be a fabulous ambassador for us and Northern Ireland,' she said.

Amelia may be the official cheerleader for the Team GB competitors but today it was her friends and classmates who were cheering her on in her success.