ST JOHN’S, Antigua – Four Antigua & Barbuda athletes and seven officials will participate in the opening ceremony of the 2012 London Olympics today, as they begin a journey that is more about national pride than winning gold.
The athletes and officials were welcomed at a brief ceremony under sweltering London heat where Antigua & Barbuda’s national anthem was played and its flag raised.
“We are from the land of sunshine and we are quite happy to have the sun out,” said Chef de Mission Neville Fenton.
Temperatures are expected to drop within the next couple of days but the delegation head said there is warmth in their hearts after receiving support from nationals who reside in the former colony.
“The reception has been very warm and friendly. We have met Antiguans who are very excited that we are here and told us that we will be getting their full support,” Fenton said. “The athletes are upbeat.”
US-based Afia Charles will compete in the 400 metre race and Brendan Christian will specialise in the 200 metre. The other athletes are 100-metre runner Daniel “Bakka” Bailey and Karlin Clashing, who will be the country’s first athlete to compete in swimming on August 3.
At today’s grand opening ceremony, Bailey will carry the national flag. Official proceedings begin at 7 pm at the Olympic Village.
The Summer Olympics will take place from July 27 to August 12.
(More in today’s Daily OBSERVER)