No less than six badminton players will be right at the forefront when the 206 contingents march into the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo tonight for the traditional Parade of Nations at the Olympic Games Opening Ceremony.
The sextet selected as their nation’s flagbearers are Loh Kean Yew (Singapore), Mahoor Shahzad (Pakistan), Tse Ying Suet (Hong Kong), Goh Liu Ying and Lee Zii Jia (Malaysia) and Fathimath Nabaaha Abdul Razzaq (Maldives). Singles players Loh, Shahzad, Lee and Abdul Razzaq are first-time Olympians whereas Goh is the first Malaysian woman to feature at three Summer Games.
Tokyo 2020 sees the highest number of badminton athletes bearing the flags of their state.
In Rio de Janeiro four years ago, five shuttlers were their country’s flagbearers – Lee Chong Wei (Malaysia), Kate Foo Kune (Mauritius), Zi Liang Derek Wong (Singapore), Soren Opti (Suriname) and Ratchanok Intanon (Thailand).
Hadinata then became the only coach to lead his contingent out at Athens 2004. He remains the sole badminton personality to bear his nation’s flag at two Olympics.
Here are the other shuttlers who have had the honour:
Thomas Stuer-Lauridsen (Denmark)
Rexy Mainaky (Indonesia)
Ronald Susilo (Singapore)
Georgie Cupidon (Seychelles)
Petr Koukal (Czech Republic)
Mohamed Ajfan Rasheed (Maldives)
Tonight’s Opening Ceremony begins at 8pm local time (11am GMT). Be sure to catch The Tokyo 2020 Show LIVE at 4.30pm KL time later today.