BOURNEMOUTH golfer Georgia Hall has more reason than most to be excited for the Australian Youth Olympic Festival after being selected as the flag bearer for Team GB at the Opening Ceremony.
The 16-year-old will be amongst the first to compete for Team GB in golf since the 1900 Olympic Games and will now lead out Team GB’s 120-strong squad on tomorrow morning.
The European number one was presented with the Union flag by double Olympian canoeist Jessica Walker, Team GB’s flag bearer at the last AYOF in 2009, and insisted she can’t wait to get her first taste of Youth Olympic action.
And with golf appearing in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, the British girls’ champion hopes competing Down Under will help her stake a claim for a spot in three years time. “This is a huge honour. I am thrilled to have been selected to carry the flag for Team GB at the Opening Ceremony of the Australian Youth Olympic Festival,” said Hall, who finished the year topping the European Ladies rankings and fourth in the World Amateur Women’s rankings.
“I am really looking forward to the opening ceremony, it will be my first taste of what the Olympics could be like and I can’t believe there will be thousands of people in the crowd when I lead Team GB out!
“It is a real honour to be one of the very first golfers to represent Team GB for a very long time. When golf got added to the sport programme for the Rio 2016 Games, I was really excited as it has always been my dream to compete at an Olympics.
“I’m looking forward to competing to the best of my ability here in Australia, as well as learning about the Olympic environment and making many new friends with teammates from other sports and competitors from other countries.”
The opening ceremony will incorporate many elements of a tradition Olympic opening ceremony, including the parade, raising the Olympic flag and lighting of the festival flame.
And Team GB chef de mission, Mark England believes the experience will be invaluable to Hall who should be very proud of not just the accolade but her stellar year on the course.
“Congratulations to Georgia Hall on being awarded the honour of leading Team GB as our flag bearer at the opening ceremony of the 2013 AYOF,” said England.
“At just 16 years old Georgia is ranked number one in Europe and fourth in the World Amateur Women’s rankings, which is a remarkable achievement and she represents an outstanding choice as Team GB flag Bbarer. Georgia should be very proud of this special achievement.
“The AYOF marks the first time in over 100 years that Team GB will include athletes from the sport of golf and I’m sure that the AYOF will play an important role in introducing these young athletes to an environment reminiscent of the Olympic Games and providing them with vital experience of a multi-sport competition.”
The British Olympic Association prepares and leads British athletes at the summer, winter and youth Olympic Games. It works in partnership with sport National Governing Bodies to enhance Olympic success and is responsible for championing the Olympic values. www.olympics.org.uk.