Tokyo Paralympics: Ellie Simmonds and John Stubbs to be flag bearers for Great Britain at opening ceremony

Swimmer Ellie Simmonds and archer John Stubbs have been named as the flag bearers for Great Britain at Tuesday’s Tokyo Paralympic Games opening ceremony.

Five-time Paralympic champion Simmonds, 26, will be the first woman to carry the flag for Great Britain at the summer Paralympics since fellow swimmer Maggie McEleny in 2000.

Stubbs, who won individual gold at Beijing 2008 and silver in the mixed team event in Rio, is the oldest athlete on the ParalympicsGB team, aged 56, for Tokyo 2020.

Both Simmonds and Stubbs are competing at their fourth Paralympic Games.

“I’m hugely honoured to carry the flag for the ParalympicsGB team – on behalf of all the athletes, support staff and for the entire nation back home,” said Simmonds, who won a gold and bronze medal at Rio 2016.

“To go to the Paralympic Games and be given the opportunity to do that is just amazing.

“This is going to be my fourth Games and my first opening ceremony. Just to be here in Tokyo is amazing but to carry the flag is the icing on the cake and I can’t wait for the competition to start.”

Stubbs, who will be the first archer to carry the flag in recent Paralympic history, said he felt “incredibly emotional” when he was told he would be a flag bearer alongside Simmonds.

“For any elite athlete to go to the Games and be bestowed this honour is a privilege. Words can’t describe what it means to me,” he said.

“It’s been a torrid year – unfortunately, I lost my Dad in January. He was my biggest fan, and hopefully if he’s looking down on me, he’s there saying, ‘do it for the Stubbs family John, you’ve earned it and you deserve it’. I know my family will be as proud as punch.”

A 227-strong squad has been selected to compete for ParalymicsGB at the rescheduled Games in Tokyo.

Chef de Mission Penny Briscoe OBE said: “Both Ellie and John exemplify what it means to be a ParalympicsGB athlete. Their excellence on the field of play as well as their integrity, leadership and commitment to the team is something very special.

“I am delighted Ellie and John will jointly carry the Union Flag on Tuesday and I have no doubt that by their example they will inspire the whole of the ParalympicsGB team to achieve great things over the coming 12 days of competition.”

ParalympicsGB won 147 medals in Rio – 27 more than they won at their home games at London 2012 – and UK Sport, the funding body, has set a target of 100 to 140 medals in Tokyo.

The Tokyo 2020 Paralympics open on Tuesday and run until September 5, with no fans in attendance due to coronavirus concerns.

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