by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Priscilla Tommy and Anolyn Lulu
Not only will he lead the South Pacific island delegation into the historic venue; it will be the third consecutive occasion that a table tennis player has headed Vanuatu at an Olympic Games Opening Ceremony.
Can any sport match that record?
In the Bird’s Nest at the Beijing 2008 Olympic, the athlete afforded the honour was Priscila Tommy; four years ago in London’s Olympic Stadium, the prestigious task was bestowed on the shoulders of Anolyn Lulu.
The selection of Yoshua Shing, who will be competing in his second Olympic Games, he played in London, means that table tennis will have no less than five standard bearers at the prestigious Opening Ceremony.
Olufunke Oshonaike, who made her made her debut in Atlanta two decades ago in 1996 and is competing in her sixth consecutive Olympic Games, will carry the Nigerian flag.
Likewise the female cause is represented by Austria’s Liu Jia and Ian Lariba of the Philippines; both will lead their delegations into the Maracaña Stadium.
It is a first appearance at an Olympic Games for Ian Lariba, for Liu Jia, it is her fifth consecutive such endeavour.
A debut in Sydney in 2000, it is exactly the same for Timo Boll; he carries the German flag.