Paralympics 2012: Peter Norfolk to carry GB flag at opening ceremony

Peter Norfolk

Wheelchair tennis player Peter Norfolk will carry the British flag at the opening ceremony of the London Paralympics on Wednesday.

The 51-year-old, known as the Quadfather, will be appearing in his third Games in London.

He will be hoping to win his third quad singles title in a row when Eton Manor stages the tennis events.

"I'm blown away to be selected as flagbearer. It was a huge surprise and a very great honour," he said.

"I'm really looking forward to competing in the London 2012 Games, and I'm eager to get to the Village and Eton Manor and get going.

"I can feel the excitement is really building as everyone is talking about the Games and getting behind the athletes wishing them luck. I'm very humbled to lead in the ParalympicsGB team that I'm sure can make Great Britain very, very proud.

"This will be my first opening ceremony as my playing schedules have meant I missed the other two so this will be an especially magical moment for me."

Norfolk, who was selected following a vote from his fellow GB team-members, created history in Athens when he won Britain's first ever medal in the sport in the quad division (for players who are affected in three or more limbs) before following up with doubles silver alongside Mark Eccleston.

As well as successfully defending his singles title in Beijing four years ago, he won bronze in the doubles where he partnered Jamie Burdekin and in London he will be chasing a three-in-a-row in the singles and be hoping to win his first doubles gold alongside Andy Lapthorne.

Norfolk came to wheelchair tennis after a motorcycle accident in 1979 left him with a spinal cord injury. Although he initially played in the open division, he had to restart his career as a quad player following further spinal surgery in 2000.

Earlier this year he won his sixth singles Grand Slam title with victory in the Australian Open in Melbourne and he and Lapthorne linked up for doubles success.

"Congratulations to Pete Norfolk on this outstanding honour," said ParalympicsGB Chef de Mission Craig Hunter. "To carry the flag at the head of the team at any Games is a unique honour but this is made even more special because it will be in front of a home crowd.

"This is true recognition of his outstanding sporting achievement."

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