The British Olympic Association today announced equestrian rider Jake Saywell (Nottingham) as Team GB's Flag bearer for the 2nd Edition of the Youth Olympic Games (YOG) in Nanjing, China.
Team GB's Chef de Mission Sarah Winckless made the announcement at a reception hosted by the British Consul at the Intercontinental Hotel in Nanjing. The sporting themed reception included a running track themed hallway and the ballroom that had been transformed into a football pitch.
Corinne Bracken Team Leader for equestrian nominated Saywell as flag bearer alongside representatives from each of the thirteen sports that Team GB is participating in at the YOG. Saywell was then selected as flag bearer following a secret vote by his fellow Team GB teammates.
Seventeen year-old Saywell will lead Team GB’s 33-strong ranks, aged 15-18, into the 26,000 capacity Jiangning Sports Centre. There they will watch over 4000 performers embrace the Nanjing 2014 motto of ‘Share the Games’ and ‘Share our Dreams’ as they participate in the tailor made Opening Ceremony named ‘Lighting of the Future’.
Saywell is a member of the British Equestrian Federation’s World Class Development Programme and is seen as one of the top young equestrian athletes in the UK. He has won medals at consecutive Junior European Championships – picking up a team bronze in 2012 before going one better a year later with a team silver
Also a keen rugby player, Saywell was a member of the Leicester Tigers Academy until the age of the 15.
Team GB Chef de Mission Sarah Winckless said:
“As an athlete it is a huge honour to be selected as Flag bearer for your country and even more special when you are voted for by your fellow athletes.
“Jake is a talented athlete, not only has he exceled in the sport of equestrian but he is also a keen rugby player which saw him a member of the Leicester Tigers Academy
“The Youth Olympic Games is an event still in its infancy but one that I believe gives young athletes like Jake an incredibly opportunity to compete against the best athletes in their age group from around the world. Crucially it also enables them to learn more about the Olympic movement and the Olympic Values of Excellence, Friendship and Respect.
“I have no doubt that Jake will carry the Union Flag with pride and do everyone here at Team GB proud.”
Jake Saywell said: “I never expected it at all because there are so many great athletes here so it was a great surprise and I feel very honoured and privileged to be voted by my fellow teammates and friends and it just feels great.
“It has been a great start and how everything has been set up is great and you can’t fault a thing, and this makes it even better.
“Equestrian isn’t the biggest sport here but it just shows that everyone is noticing it now and we have had some very good results in the last Olympics and Europeans so the only way is up.
“This has given me a big boost now and I just can’t wait to get going.”
Corinne Bracken Equestrian Team Leader said: “It is unbelievable and I can’t think of an equestrian athlete that has ever been a flag bearer at an Olympic Games.
“Jake is such a hard worker and he has been such a pivotal member of the showjumping teams since he was 12 years old so for him this is a fantastic experience and the fact his family are flying in for the Opening Ceremony will just be amazing for him.
“Hopefully it will get equestrian on the world stage again and it is very emotional for me.”