BY DANIEL NHAKANISO
ZIMBABWE Olympic Committee (ZOC) has named rower Peter Purcell-Gilpin and teenage swimming sensation Donata Katai as the country’s flag bearers ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games’ opening ceremony on Friday.
The appointment of the duo as the country’s flag bearers was confirmed by Team Zimbabwe’s chef de mission Fredrick Ndlovu, who is also the ZOC vice president.
The Opening Ceremony for this year’s Olympic Games — which were delayed because of the coronavirus pandemic — will take place in Tokyo’s Olympic Stadium at 1pm (Zimbabwean time), a few hours after Purcell-Gilpin would have competed in the heats of the men’s singles sculls.
An elated Purcell-Gilpin expressed his delight to being given the honour to share the flag bearing duties with 17 year-old Katai, who will compete in the women’s 100m backstroke starting on Sunday.
“I am truly honoured have been chosen as the flag bearer for Zimbabwe. I’ll do my best to bring as much of the Zimbabwean spirit to the games as I can.”
“The important thing in life is not the triumph, but the struggle; the essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well. To spread these principles is to build up a strong more valiant and above all, more scrupulous and more generous humanity,” Purcell-Gilpin said.
Usually held in a stadium with thousands of ecstatic fans, this year’s ceremony will have athletes from across the globe parading in a near empty venue after it was announced that fans would not be allowed to attend because of rising Covid-19 cases in Japan.
Unlike in previous Olympics, Team Zimbabwe won’t be the last team in the march out parade, but will be 83rd just behind Singapore and ahead of Switzerland as the country’s name is spelt differently in Japanese.
In addition to Purcell-Gilpin and Katai, Zimbabwe is also being represented in the Tokyo Olympic Games by male swimmer Peter Wetzlar, professional golfer Scott Vincent and sprinter Ngoni Makusha.