August 24 - Wheelchair tennis star Peter Norfolk, who is aiming for a third successive quad singles gold medal at London 2012, has been named as the British Paralympic team's flag-bearer for the Opening Ceremony of the Games next week.
The 51-year-old (pictured top), nicknamed The Quadfather, has received the honour to carry the standard at the Olympic Stadium next Wednesday (August 29) following a vote held among the ParalympicsGB team members.
The current quad singles world number three and doubles number one, Norfolk fought off tough competition from gold medal-winning team-mates including swimmer Ellie Simmonds, cyclist Sarah Storey and equestrian rider Lee Pearson.
Norfolk admitted he was "blown away" to be chosen: "I'm very humbled to lead in the ParalympicsGB team that can make Great Britain very, very proud.
"It was a huge surprise when I was told and I feel it is a very great honour."
He pointed out that, ironically, this would be his first Opening Ceremony having missed the last two because of the tennis tournament schedule.
With the Games now imminent, Norfolk said he is "really looking forward to competing in the London 2012 Paralympics.
"I can feel the excitement really building as everyone is talking about the Games and getting behind the athletes wishing them luck."
In addition to his singles successes at Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008, Norfolk won a bronze medal in the doubles four years ago alongside Jamie Burdekin (pictured above) to add to a silver he claimed with Mark Eccleston at the previous Games.
This year Norfolk – who boasts 11 Grand Slam singles and doubles crowns – will hope to earn a doubles gold alongside Andy Lapthorne.
Norfolk could be viewed as a fitting candidate to carry the ParalympicsGB flag as he discovered wheelchair tennis at the age of 30 after watching a demonstration at Stoke Mandeville, the hospital where he was treated following the motorcycle accident that left him disabled and the spiritual home of the Paralympic Games.
Among the first people to congratulate him on his achievement were British Paralympic swimming champion Liz Johnson on Twitter and British Paralympic Association chief executive Tim Hollingsworth who said he felt proud "that Quadfather will lead the way".
ParalympicsGB Chef de Mission Craig Hunter added: "This is true recognition of his outstanding sporting achievement."
Between 100 and 150 of Britain's Paralympic team are expected to be present at the Opening Ceremony.
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