Kyriazopoulous named Ashgabat Australian Flagbearer
17 September 2017
ASHGABAT 2017: Taekwondo athlete Deanna Kyriazopoulos has been named Australian Flagbearer for the Opening Ceremony of the Ashgabat 2017 Asian Indoor & Martial Arts Games (AIMAG).
The 18-year-old will lead members of the Australian team into Ashgabat’s Olympic Stadium during Sunday night’s event, which will signify the beginning of the 10-day competition involving 65 delegations from the Asia and Oceania regions.
“I feel very honoured to be the flag bearer for Australia,” the Sydney-sider said.
“It’s very humbling and an awesome opportunity that I wouldn’t want to give up. It’s the first time competing at these Games so it’s a great honour.”
Australia’s Chef de Mission John Saul said Deanna’s optimism, positive attitude and sporting accomplishments made her suitable flagbearer candidate.
“Deanna has a very good background in the sport; she is the 2016 Oceania Champion, won silver at the 2015 Pacific Games, and is coming off a recent string of strong performances,” Saul said.
“Her sheer enthusiasm for the team is coming out and she’s so happy to be here and is so looking forward to, and is focused on, her event.
“She has the characteristics we like in all Australian athletes, and especially our flag bearers.
“She has extreme dedication to her sport and is a great team member. She is always happy to talk to her teammates during training and outside of training, and is a valuable part of the team,” he said.
Kyriazopoulos was a member of Australia’s 2015 Pacific Games team and said her previous multi-sport Games experience will benefit her in captaining Australia’s 18-strong team at the Games in Turkmenistan.
“You learn a lot the first time you go to a multi-sport event, so I hope I can provide some guidance to the other athletes about where things are and about being very comfortable talking to other members of the Australian team like the doctor and the physio,” she said.
“I am really looking forward to seeing the Aussie athletes from other sports compete as well. I think it’s really important that we all push each other, are there for each other, and that we can support each other, even though we come from different sports.”
Deanna will lead Australia’s taekwondo and weightlifting athletes during the ceremony, with the wrestlers to arrive in Turkmenistan on Tuesday.
Ashgabat is the fifth installment of the Games, and the first time the Olympic Council of Asia has extended an invitation to Oceania nations to compete. With 20 Oceania and Pacifc nations joining the 45 delegations recognised by the OCA, the 2017 edition will be the biggest AIMAG ever.