All the action as the Tokyo Olympics opening ceremony takes place.
New Zealand will have a new flagbearer at the Tokyo Olympics opening ceremony.
A late change to the Olympic rowing schedule has forced Hamish Bond to hand over his flagbearer duties, now having to prepare for a race tomorrow.
Bond was named as New Zealand’s male flagbearer, along with female flagbearer Sarah Hirini (rugby sevens).
Double Commonwealth Games gold medal winning boxer David Nyika has been named to replace Bond by Chef de Mission Rob Waddell.
Bond was told this evening that the New Zealand men’s rowing eight would now be racing tomorrow.
“Unfortunately, this late and unexpected change means I’ve had to make a very tough decision,” said Bond.
“Although being flagbearer is a huge honour, ultimately I came to Tokyo to compete and that means I need to prioritise being in the best possible condition for racing tomorrow.
“I have no doubt that David and Sarah will do a fantastic job leading the team and I look forward to watching them carry our flag.”
For Nyika, this afternoon’s news was yet another twist in his long and complex journey to the Olympic Games.
“This was hugely unexpected but I couldn’t be more proud to step up,” said Nyika.
“This is a huge honour and there’s so many athletes who are deserving of this privilege, it’s really special and I’m super proud.
“Filling Hamish Bond’s shoes will be a big ask but I’m really looking forward to walking alongside Sarah and representing the New Zealand team and our nation.
“From missing Rio, to being about to head to Wuhan when the qualifiers were moved and the Games postponed, to lockdown in New Zealand and finally selection, it’s been an unbelievable road to the Games. This is a huge way to kick off my Olympic campaign for real.”
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