A LOCAL teenager will play a key role in developing sport in Scotland over the next two years as part of the Young People’s Sports Panel (YPSP).

Rian Harvey has been selected from 156 applicants to be part of the project which aims to provide a national platform for young people to influence and shape the future of sport.

The 15-year-old, who swims competitively for Stirling Swimming Club, is determined to use his new position to inspire more youngsters into sport and promote swimming.

He said: “My main ambition is to improve sport in Scotland and I hope as a panel we can make a difference for the future.

"I would hope to encourage and inspire more young people to get involved in sport and the benefits it brings.

“I would also like to promote more swimming in primary schools, allowing all children to achieve this essential life skill.”

The Crieff High School pupil, along with the 18 other panel members, will have the opportunity to have his views heard and valued and the chance to influence decision making and drive change in Scottish sport.

In setting up the panel, now in its fourth year and led by sportscotland with support from Young Scot, a rigorous recruitment process began in January.

Applications were submitted by 156 young people between the ages of 14-23 years old from every region of Scotland. 

In March, 102 were selected and interviewed by a team of experts from sportscotland and external partners as well as previous panel members.

Then 38 candidates were selected for a second interview, which included a group session, an individual challenge and a formal interview ahead of the final 19 being confirmed in June. 

The new panel met for the first time in sportscotland’s Edinburgh office at the end of last month, along with their parents and guardians.

They heard from former panel members and found out more about the expectations of the next two years.

Stewart Harris, sportscotland CEO, congratulated the new panel members and is delighted with the impact the panel continues to make on sport across the country.

He said: “I want to congratulate our 19 new panel members who have come through a rigorous recruitment process.

"That alone is a wonderful achievement and they have already shown skill and ability beyond their years.

“I look forward to seeing the positive impact their passion and dedication will have on Scottish sport over the next two years."

He gave special thanks to the departing panel members, saying their hard work and enthusiasm was "inspiring".

He added: “I am always impressed by the commitment and passion for sport these young people have.

"They‘ve made a real impact both at a local and national level helping to implement programmes such as the School Sports Awards.”

Part of the role of the young people’s panel is to create online content that will encourage and entice their peers from across Scotland to get involved in sport.

A lot of this content is hosted on the Young Scot website, which can be viewed here.