“I am extremely glad to have this honour and as an athlete I am even more happy because Italian para-athletics has been growing a lot lately.”
Martina Caironi, the world and Paralympic champion over 100m T42, has been announced as Italy’s flagbearer for the Opening Ceremony of the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games on September.
The 26-year-old, who made her Paralympic debut at London 2012 winning gold in 15.87 seconds, enjoyed arguably the best year of her career in 2015.
At the 2015 IPC Athletics World Championships in Doha, Qatar, she retained her 100m world title, becoming the first female leg amputee under 15 seconds, and won silver in the long jump T42.
During the course of the year she set six world records, three over 100m and three over 200m. She also equalled the long jump T42 record before it was surpassed by Germany’s Vanessa Low in Doha.
Caironi is delighted to have been confirmed as Italy’s flagbearer for Rio 2016.
“Italian Paralympic President Luca Pancalli called me the other day to announce me the big news while I was driving to the beach,” she said. “I thought I was dreaming. I couldn't believe it because I don't have a long career as well as Oscar De Pellegrin had (Italy's flagbearer in London 2012).I have been competing for six years only.
“I am extremely glad to have this honour and as an athlete I am even more happy because Italian para-athletics has been growing a lot lately. I am overexcited today, and cannot even think of being in Rio carrying the flag with all the Italian team following behind.”
Ahead of Rio 2016, Caironi is expected to star at June’s IPC Athletics European Championships on home soil in Grosseto.