rediff.com

NewsApp (Free)

Read news as it happens
Download NewsApp

Available on  

Rediff News  All News 
Rediff.com  » Sports » Maria Sharapova to carry Russian flag in London

Maria Sharapova to carry Russian flag in London

June 13, 2012 10:53 IST

Maria Sharapova will be the Russian delegation's flag-bearer at next month's Olympic opening ceremony in London, Russia's tennis chief Shamil Tarpishchev said on Tuesday.

But Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko said the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) would make the final decision on the flag-bearer next month.

The Russians would break with tradition if they chose Sharapova, who won the French Open title last weekend.

Maria SharapovaCarrying the flag is considered a great honour in Russia and it is tradionally given to famous athletes, mostly men, such as Greco-Roman wrestler Alexander Karelin and swimmer Alexander Popov, who have won numerous Olympic titles.

"Tennis is a very popular sport and, so as far as I know, Roger Federer has been chosen to carry the Swiss flag and Rafa Nadal will lead the Spanish delegation at the opening ceremony in London," Tarpishchev, a member of the International Olympic Committee, was quoted as saying by local media.

But Mutko told reporters: "Maria is an outstanding athlete, a worthy candidate, but she is only one of several candidates for that role.

"The final decision will be taken by the (ROC) executive board at its meeting on July 10-11."

Sharapova, 25, will be making her Olympic debut in London after failing to qualify for the 2004 Games in Athens and missing the 2008 edition in Beijing with a shoulder injury.

"The Olympics has been a dream of mine since I was a young girl," Sharapova, who was born in Siberia but is now based in Florida, said earlier this year.

"Growing up in Russia, tennis wasn't a big sport back then. It was all about being an Olympian."

The Olympic tennis tournament will be played on the grass courts at Wimbledon where, as a 17-year-old, Sharapova stunned Serena Williams in the 2004 Wimbledon final to win her maiden grand slam title.

Her win in Paris gave Sharapova the full set of four grand slam titles.

Source:
© Copyright 2014 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Reuters content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters. Reuters shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.