BOURNEMOUTH golfer Georgia Hall had 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 Remedy Oak star will be among the first to compete for Team GB in golf since the 1900 Olympic Games and led out Team GB’s 120-strong squad yesterday 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 couldn’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 was 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.

“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 team-mates from other sports and competitors from other countries.”

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 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 represented an outstanding choice as Team GB flag bearer. 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.”

Also taking part in the festival are Dorset girls Izzy Songhurst (trampoline) and Lynnlette Aung (badminton), together with former Canford School pupil Anastasia Chitty (rowing).

  •  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.