Belfast boxer Paddy Barnes in Olympic opening ceremony stunt

Paddy Barnes holds aloft his sign at the Olympics Opening Ceremony

Belfast boxer Paddy Barnes has gained nearly 3,000 more Twitter followers after he advertised his social media account at the Olympic Games opening ceremony in London on Friday night.

Irish team member Barnes held aloft a sign reading: 'Open For Sponsors', followed by his Twitter handle.

An estimated TV audience of one billion people watched Friday's ceremony.

The 2008 Olympic bronze medallist also posted on Twitter pictures of himself alongside Usain Bolt and other stars.

Barnes' Irish team-mate Darren O'Neill hailed the Belfast man's bravado.

"Paddy showed me the sign before he went but I didn't think he'd dare go through with it," said middleweight O'Neill after his 15-6 win over Nigeria's Muideen Akanji on Saturday.

"Paddy is always a character and I think he's got a sky-rocketing number of followers overnight so fair play to him."

Another of Barnes' team-mates John Joe Nevin also saw the funny side of the stunt.

"What Paddy did at the opening ceremony was brilliant," said Nevin after his comprehensive 21-6 win over Denmark's Dennis Ceylan.

"I had an idea he was going to do that. It was great to watch."

Barnes has plenty of time to occupy himself before his opening bout in London as he will not be in action until next Saturday.