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Sophie Pascoe named New Zealand Team flag bearer

*** Original story from NZ Olympic Committee 

One of New Zealand’s most decorated sportspeople, Sophie Pascoe, has been named New Zealand Team flag bearer for the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.

The 25 year old was named by Chef de Mission Rob Waddell at a team welcome ceremony attended by around 500 New Zealand athletes, family members and supporters on the Gold Coast. The crowd broke into applause as the announcement was made.

Waddell says the Cantabrian was chosen because she epitomises the values and the culture carried by the New Zealand Team.

“What this athlete does transcends sport and touches the hearts and emotions of every New Zealander. She is an inspiration to all people,” said Waddell.

“It was an honour to present Sophie with the New Zealand flag and name her as the New Zealand flagbearer for the XXI Commonwealth Games. She will follow in the footsteps of some of New Zealand’s greatest sportspeople when she leads the team into the Opening Ceremony tomorrow night.”

Christchurch based Pascoe won 2x gold medals at Glasgow 2014, her first Commonwealth Games. She has also won a staggering 15 Paralympic medals, making her our most decorated Paralympian.

Pascoe, who heard the news only a fortnight ago, says she is extremely proud to be named as the team flag bearer.

“It’s very humbling to have been chosen out of the many world champion athletes that we’ve created in New Zealand,” she said.

“I wasn’t considered as a Paralympic athlete, I was considered as just one of the athletes of the New Zealand Team so to lead that team out is very special and it’ll be a moment to remember forever.”

Pascoe, who began swimming at seven years old, entered the Games village today following a pre competition training camp on the Sunshine Coast.

She has been coached by Roly Crichton for the past 14 years.

Pascoe will lead the New Zealand Team into the Gold Coast 2018 Opening Ceremony which begins at 2000 tomorrow evening local time (2200 New Zealand time).

She is competing in the SM10 200m individual medley and the SB9 100m breaststroke at the Games. The individual medley will be contested on April 7th and the breaststroke on April 9th.

Pascoe is New Zealand’s 21st Commonwealth Games flagbearer. Dame Valerie Adams was the last Opening Ceremony flag bearer, leading the team into the Glasgow Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony in 2014.

The New Zealand Team function was presided over by Her Excellency the Governor General, Dame Patsy Reddy. The ceremony featured a cultural performance involving Kuia with the NZOC, Ranui Ngarimu, along with Kaumatua Derek Lardelli. There was also an acapella performance of the national anthem sung by Ria Hall, Troy Kingi and Maisey Rika.