“I’m clearly very honoured to be named flag bearer. I’ve been at this a long time and any time you get to represent your country, it means a lot.”
Canada has named Wheelchair Basketballer David Durepos as its flag bearer for Saturday’s (12 November) Opening Ceremony of the 2011 Parapan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico.
The 43 year old has been part of the national team since 1994 and has won two Paralympic gold medals and a silver, together with a silver medal from the 2007 Parapan Games.
The announcement was made at the Canadian Team pep rally and flag raising ceremony in the Paralympic village today.
“I’m clearly very honoured to be named flag bearer,” said Durepos. “I’ve been at this a long time and any time you get to represent your country, it means a lot.”
Of the 1,500 athletes in Guadalajara for the Games, Canada has brought 122 athletes and 11 guides/pilots/sports assistants to compete in 11 of the 13 sports.
Durepos also shared a few words of wisdom with the Canadian Team, many of are younger, developing athletes at their first multi-sport Games.
“Focus on the little things, don’t focus on the medal, and things will fall into place,” Durepos advised. “Narrow the focus. It’s a big priviledge to be here.”
Selection criteria for the Opening Ceremony flag bearer require that the athlete exhibit a commitment to fair play; be respected as a role model by other athletes; maintain an exemplary standard of behaviour and have made a contribution to Paralympic Sport and the sporting community.
“David exemplifies both the excellence in athletics achievement and the leadership values that all Canadian Team flag bearers share,” said Rob Needham, Canada’s Chef de Mission. “We know that Team Canada members will be proud to enter the stadium behind David.”
Durepos will be action on Sunday as Canada start their campaign for London 2012 qualification.