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Sbihi becomes first Muslim to carry British flag at Olympics opening ceremony
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 23 - 07 - 2021

The gold medal-winning rower Mohamed Sbihi made history on Friday, becoming the first Muslim to carry the British flag at an Olympic opening ceremony. He was joined by another gold medalist, the sailor Hannah Mills.
It is the first time that two competitors are allowed to carry the flag after the International Olympic Committee announced last year that each national Olympic committee could nominate one female and one male athlete as flag bearers.
"To know I'm the first person of Muslim faith to have this role and duty is a very proud moment," Sbihi told the Independent.
"We need more representation and hopefully this starts that process of getting young Muslim kids involved in all types of sport.
"I was in London and Rio to see Mo Farah win his medals as a refugee who came to the country very young and as a practicing Muslim. That was inspiring."
Sbihi and Mills follow in the footsteps of some of Team GB's most legendary athletes including Andy Murray, rowers Sir Matthew Pinsent and Sir Steve Redgrave, and also Anita Lonsbrough, the first woman to carry the flag for Team GB in Tokyo in 1964.
"It is such an honor," Sbihi said. "It is an iconic moment within the Olympic movement — people remember those images. I certainly remember the images of Andy from Rio and even before I was a rower I remember seeing Sir Matt and Sir Steve, so it is something I am incredibly proud of."
"It is going to be a surreal experience actually going to an Opening Ceremony but this year with the racing schedule it is actually manageable even if I wasn't a flagbearer. It will be really special and will complete my Olympic puzzle." — Agencies


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