Tokyo Olympics opening ceremony flagbearers: Syria’s Hend Zaza and Ahmad Saber Hamcho
Table tennis player Hend Zaza and showjumper Ahmad Saber Hamcho are the Syrian flagbearers at the Tokyo Olympics opening ceremony.

Three riders were their country’s Tokyo Olympics opening ceremony flagbearers as the delayed Games officially started last night.

For the first time, each nation had the option to have both a male and a female flagbearer.

Showjumper Ahmad Saber Hamcho represented Syria in the opening ceremony with 12-year-old Hend Zaza, a table tennis player who is the youngest athlete at the Olympics.

Event rider Sara Algotsson Ostholt carried the Swedish flag alongside sailor Max Salminen.

“I was asked on Tuesday when we arrived and I was very honoured,” she said. “I think it’s something you only do once in a lifetime and it’s very special. It was amazing to do it and I was very proud.

“Of course there is a lot of waiting involved in going to the opening ceremony, but it was shorter than normal this time [because fewer athletes attended due to Covid restrictions]. We are a small Swedish team, but we had a lot of fun.”

Sara is a three-time Olympian and took the individual silver at London 2012 riding Wega. She is the alternate for the Swedish team this time with Chicuelo.

Tokyo Olympics opening ceremony flagbearers: Sweden’s Sara Algotsson Ostholt and Max Salminen

Sara Algotsson Ostholt carried the Swedish flag alongside sailor Max Salminen. Credit: SIPA USA/PA Images

Finally, dressage rider Dina Ellerman had the honour of being one of the Tokyo Olympics opening ceremony flagbearers for Estonia, with rower Tõnu Endrekson.

Owing to Covid-19, there were no spectators at the ceremony and far fewer athletes than normal. Approximately 6,000 athletes and team officials attended, as well as around 1,500 broadcasters, 2,000 other press and 900 Games stakeholders and guests of honour.

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