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Danny Crates Selected as Flag Bearer

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Danny Crates
Crates will lead in the Paralympic team

 

5 September 2008

 

 

ParalympicsGB today announced that Danny Crates will carry the flag for the Great Britain team at the Opening Ceremony of the Paralympic Games in Beijing on Saturday, 6 September.
 
The Paralympic, World and European champion for T46 800m will be defending the title he won in Athens four years ago and is part of a 36-strong athletics team competing for GB in Beijing.
 

After a photocall outside the Bird's Nest stadium, an emotional Danny Crates said:

“It is the greatest honour I believe any athlete can have, especially when your fellow teammates are the ones who voted for you,” he said.

“This is my third Paralympic Games and there have only been 13 Paralympic Games so there are not many people who have had the honour of carrying the union flag around the track.

“For me, it is something special,” added the 35-year-old from Essex who won bronze as a 400m runner in Sydney eight years ago.

“My career has been full of many, many highs, and some lows, as in any athlete’s career, but this is pretty much the pinnacle. This is the one I had no control over. This is the one that has to be given to you for what you’ve achieved in the sport.

Crates won the World Championships Gold in 2006 and will begin the defence of his Paralympic title on day eight of the Games (Sunday 14 September). But achilles and soleus injury problems this year meant he almost didn’t make it to Beijing at all, but the possibility that he could be the flag bearer kept him striving to regain fitness.

“For me it’s been a long build-up to the Games that’s not quite gone according to plan,” he explained. “But knowing there was a possibility that I was going to carry the flag was a great driving force behind getting through some of the tougher times I’ve had.

“At periods, when it looked unlikely that I might make it to Beijing, just the fact that there was the possibility of this honour was a big driving force for me.

Although his training has been limited, Crates still believes he has a fighting chance of retaining his title. “When I step on the track I will give 110 per cent as I always have,” he said. “I will give it everything I have. Miracles happen at the Paralympic Games.

“For me the opening ceremony is such a massive part of the Games. The ‘wow’ factor when you first walk into the stadium and the pride you feel when you walk out as part of the team – that moment is what really brings it home to you that you are at a Paralympic Games.

“But it’s the bit when they light the flame that always gets me. That when you know the Games have started.
 
 For news updates on ParalympicsGB please visit www.paralympics.org.uk