England Golf’s Georgia Hall was today named as Team GB’s flag bearer for the Opening Ceremony of the 2013 Australian Youth Olympic Festival (AYOF), which starts tomorrow in Sydney.
Georgia, 16, is the European women’s number one, is ranked fourth in the world and is the British girls’ champion. She is based at Remedy Oak Golf Club in Dorset.
She said: “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.
“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!”
The golf team includes six England players. They are Jack Singh-Brar (Brokenhurst Manor), Gabriella Cowley (Brocket Hall), Harry Ellis (Meon Valley), Georgia Hall (Remedy Oak), Amber Ratcliffe (Royal Cromer) and Ashton Turner (Kenwick Park). The line-up is completed by Bradley Neil, Ewan Scott and Lauren Whyte of Scotland and by Chloe Williams of Wales.
Georgia was unveiled as the Team GB Flag Bearer in front of her teammates by Chef de Mission, Mark England during a team reception hosted by the British Consulate General at his residence in Sydney.
Georgia was presented with the Union Flag by double Olympian Team GB canoeist Jessica Walker who was Team GB’s Flag Bearer at the last AYOF in 2009 and is currently training in Sydney.
The 2013 AYOF sees Georgia, alongside her nine teammates, compete for Team GB in golf for the first time since the 1900 Olympic Games when British golfers won silver and bronze medals. In 2009 it was announced that golf was being re-introduced to the Olympic Programme for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
Team GB will be represented by 120 athletes, aged 12-20, across 11 sports over five days of AYOF competition. The first sports in action are hockey and badminton on Wednesday morning, followed by the Opening Ceremony which takes place at 18:30 local time (07:00 UK time) at the Sydney Entertainment Centre.
The Opening Ceremony will incorporate many elements of a tradition Olympic Opening Ceremony, including the parade of the 1,700 participating athletes from 30 countries, the taking of the athletes’ and officials’ oaths, the raising of the Olympic Flag, and the lighting of the Festival Flame as well as musical and performance entertainment from local artists.
Team GB Chef de Mission, Mark England said: “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.
“At just sixteen 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 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 and providing them with vital experience of a multi-sport competition.”
Georgia added: “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.”