Table tennis player to bear Belgian flag

12th August 2004, Comments 0 comments

12 August 2004, BRUSSELS - Table tennis player Jean-Michel Saive will carry the Belgian flag at the Olympic Games opening ceremony, it was announced on Thursday.

12 August 2004

BRUSSELS - Table tennis player Jean-Michel Saive will carry the Belgian flag at the Olympic Games opening ceremony, it was announced on Thursday.

The 34-year-old competitor from Liege was also given the honour at the Games held in Atlanta in 1996.

It had been widely predicted that Justine Henin-Hardenne – the women’s world tennis number one – would bear the flag. She delighted fans and Belgium’s Olympic selection committee when she announced she would go to Athens, despite having been out of tournament tennis for 12 weeks due to a virus.

However, her coach Carlos Rodriguez said before the announcement he would be happy if she wasn’t picked for the honour because the ceremony could tire her.

Saive was probably picked as the most experienced competitor from the 51-strong Belgian team. This is his fifth Olympics and he is a candidate for the International Olympics Committee’s commission of athletes.

He will fly out a day early to be at the opening ceremony on Friday and plays in the table tennis competition on August 17.

It was also revealed on Thursday that Henin, who will play the Czech Barbora Strycova first, was tested for drugs the previous afternoon. The testing was described as usual practice since she has been away from competition for so long. The results are expected shortly.

[Copyright Expatica 2004]

 Subject: Belgian news

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