GOLD COAST, Australia (Reuters) - Para-swimmer Sophie Pascoe will carry New Zealand’s flag at the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony on Wednesday.
The 25-year-old is New Zealand’s most successful para-sports athlete having won 15 Paralympic medals and 16 at the world championships. She won two gold medals at the last Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
“I wasn’t considered as a Paralympic athlete, I was considered as just one of the athletes of the New Zealand team so to lead that team out is very special and it’ll be a moment to remember forever,” Pascoe said at a ceremony on Tuesday.
“It’s very humbling to have been chosen out of the many world champion athletes that we’ve created in New Zealand.”
Pascoe was injured in an accident with a lawnmower as a toddler and began swimming at seven.
She was 15 when she won three gold medals and a silver at the Beijing Paralympics in 2008 and has continued to dominate her events ever since.
“What this athlete does transcends sport and touches the hearts and emotions of every New Zealander,” New Zealand chef de mission Rob Waddell said at the ceremony.
“She is an inspiration to all people.”
Reporting by Greg Stutchbury; Editing by John O'Brien