In a historic moment, the gold medal-winning rower Mohamed Karim Sbihi on Friday became the first Muslim to carry the British flag at the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games.
The 33-year old rower shared the role at the Tokyo Olympics with another gold-medalist, sailor Hannah Mills.
It is the first time that two competitors have been allowed to carry the flag after the International Olympic Committee announced last year that each national Olympic committee can nominate a woman and one athlete to carry the flag.
“To be the first person of the Muslim faith is just a huge honour and hopefully can inspire the younger Islamic nation back home in the UK, and for anybody out there, to show that you know what, just a normal kid can be at the top of their own sport or Olympic sport,” Sbihi told media.
“I feel like I have lived that journey. That’s been a little bit of my fairytale, this is just another little chapter in that.”
“It is an iconic moment within the Olympic movement — people remember those images. I certainly remember the images of Andy from Rio and even before I was a rower I remember seeing Sir Matt and Sir Steve, so it is something I am incredibly proud of,” he said.
The Olympic Games, which began on Friday, will end on August 8. A total of 11,324 athletes from 206 countries will compete in the World Games in Tokyo and athletes will compete for medals in 339 events overall.