Tokyo Olympics: Flagbearers to send messages of equality at opening ceremony
Rower Mohamed Sbihi will be the first Muslim to carry the British flag at the Games
Many Olympic nations are expected to demonstrate their support for gender equality and racial justice on Friday night with their selections of athletes to carry flags at the opening ceremony.
The International Olympic Committee changed its rules and asked each nation to select two flagbearers in an effort to increase gender equality at the Tokyo Games.
Rower Mohamed Sbihi will be the first Muslim to carry the British flag at the Games, alongside sailor Hannah Mills.
"It is such an honour to be invited to be the flagbearer for Team GB," Sbihi said. "It is an iconic moment within the Olympic movement – people remember those images."
Aussies Cate Campbell and Patty Mills are both attending their fourth Olympics. Mills, a basketballer who plays for the San Antonio Spurs in the NBA, will be the first indigenous Australian selected to carry the flag for the opening ceremony.
"It's identity, it's being able to showcase who you are throughout the world," Mills said. "It's one of those things that makes you proud of who you are. We have definitely come a long way for Australian sport and it's special."
In Belgium's case, the two flagbearers will also represent the country’s linguistic divide – heptathlete Nafi Thiam, a French speaker, and hockey player Felix Denayer, a Dutch speaker.
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