Olympics-French Paralympic team’s flag bearers to be chosen online

PARIS (Reuters) – The French Paralympic team’s flag bearers for the Tokyo Games will be designated through an online election as the national Olympic Committee looks to raise athletes’ public profile.

The vote to choose one woman and one man will be at http://www.portonsledrapeau.fr from Friday to June 30.

“Offering the general public the opportunity to elect the two flag bearers for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games is an unparalleled opportunity to get behind our athletes and to make a movement that is still too little known, visible,” said Marie-Amelie Le Fur, president of the French Paralympic Committee.

“The four women and three men are athletes with an incredible athletic background: true leaders who will have to carry the French delegation and inspire everyone,” she added of the candidates to carry the flag.

The women are rower Perle Bouge, weightlifter Souhad Ghazouani, track and field athlete Nantenin Keita – who is the daughter of Malian singer-songwriter Salif Keita – and judoka Sandrine Martinet on the women’s side.

On the men’s side, the candidates are track and field athlete Pierre Fairbank, wheelchair tennis player Stephane Houdet and swimmer David Smetanine.

“With three years to go before the Paris Paralympic Games, we are more than ever committed to promoting the Paralympic world and the performances and stories of our athletes.”

The Paralympic Games will be held from Aug 24-Sept 5.

Flag bearers for the Olympics are designated by fellow athletes.

(Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne)