Rui Hachimura, Yui Susaki named flagbearers for Japan’s Olympic team
Written by tokyoclub on July 5, 2021
Basketball player Rui Hachimura and Yui Susaki, a gold medal hopeful in women’s wrestling, will be the flagbearers for the Japanese delegation at the Tokyo Olympics opening later this month, the Japanese Olympic Committee said Monday.
The pair will lead the delegation into the National Stadium during the opening ceremony on July 23.
“The Tokyo Olympics are a stage that I have dreamed of for a long time. It is a huge honor to be given such a big role,” Hachimura, who plays for the Washington Wizards in the NBA, said in a comment released by the JOC.
Combined photo shows Rui Hachimura (L) and Yui Susaki. (Kyodo)
Susaki, who won back-to-back world championship in 2017 and 2018, said she will appreciate being able to compete during the coronavirus pandemic while conducting her role.
The International Olympic Committee has asked for a male and female flagbearer from each participating country and region in the interest of gender equality.
Hachimura, whose mother is Japanese and father is Beninese, is the first basketball player to be named Japan’s flagbearer for the Olympics. He became the first Japanese player to be picked in the first round of the NBA draft in June 2019 after starring for Gonzaga University.
The JOC said last week that sprinter Ryota Yamagata, who holds the Japanese national record in the men’s 100 meters, will captain the delegation, which will comprise some 580 athletes.
In order to pursue gender equality, the JOC created a vice-captain role for the first time at the Summer Games and selected women’s table tennis player Kasumi Ishikawa.
The Japanese delegation will hold a send-off ceremony on Tuesday.