By Neto Baptiste
Senior national sprinter Cejhae Greene and top female swimmer Samantha Roberts will carry the country’s flag during the official opening ceremony of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics slated for Friday.
Greene and Roberts are part of a six-member team representing Antigua and Barbuda at the postponed games but were chosen from amongst their peers to fly the country’s flag at the usually high profile and extravagant ceremony.
The 100 meters sprinter, who qualified for the Olympics by clocking 10.01 in the men’s 100 meters at the Tropical Elite Sprints Meet held in Miami, Florida in March, is excited over the prospect of showing off the national flag to the world.
“It’s my first time being flag bearer at any level and honestly, it’s one of those feelings where it’s like a dream because you would have seen your legends do it and now it’s your turn to carry the flag for your country, so it’s one of those things where you just want to live in the moment because it doesn’t happen too often,” he said.
Chef de Mission and assistant secretary general with the Antigua and Barbuda National Olympic Committee, Joel Rayne, explained how the two flag bearers were selected.
“In terms of seniority, Cejhae would have won bronze at the Pan American Games and although Alston Ryan also had bronze in boxing, Cejhae would have gone to the previous Olympics in 2016, in Rio, so that would have given him the edge over Alston Ryan. In terms of Samantha Roberts, this is her second Olympics as a female, compared to Jelese Gordon who would be making her debut, and also Joella Lloyd,” he said.
Rayne also sought to allay the fears of the public that athletes and officials are in imminent danger of contracting the Covid-19 virus in the athletes’ village.
“I’ve heard that on the news and I’ve read it also but I am not feeling it actually in the village. In the village, it is actually business as usual with the exception that people are wearing their masks and following the Covid protocols, but the atmosphere is basically the same and as of this past weekend and even on Sunday was peak hours in terms of athletes coming into the village, so it’s buzzing actually. In terms of the Covid and testing positive, we are not seeing that actually in the village,” he said.
Female sprinter Joella Lloyd, male swimmer Stefano Mitchell, sailor Jelese Gordon and boxer Alston Ryan will also represent Antigua and Barbuda during the Tokyo Olympics.