Flying the flag for Vanuatu

The Opening Ceremony to the Olympic Games is one of the biggest celebrations on Earth.

Hundreds of millions of people across the globe tune in live to see the biggest sporting event in the world get underway. It simultatenously shows the uniqueness of the host country, while reminding us of our shared values as a global community.

In Rio it was a four hour extravaganza costing over US$6.5million to put on. Brazil proved once again it knew how to put on a party.

The Opening Ceremony also serves as a welcoming for all the athletes that have gathered at the Games.

Stepping out in to Maracanã Stadium on August 5 on year ago was Vanuatu’s Yoshua Shing.

The Rio Olympic Games was the second time around for Shing, having previously competed in London 2012. But Rio will always have a special place in Shing’s heart.

Yoshua Shing literally carried his nation at the Rio Games. (Photo: Rémy Gross)

“The Rio Games was unbelievable, it was a life time experience for me.” Yoshua Shing

Chosen by their National Olympic Committee, the role of Flag Bearer is perhaps one of the highest honours that a sportsperson can receive. It is sign not only of a great athlete, but of a spokesperson and a role model for the values which sport strives for.

Five nations had athletes from table tennis carrying their flag at the Opening Ceremony. In Rio, Shing was selected to carry his nation’s flag.

Shing was humbled by the experience as he walked in to the stadium that night, proudly waving the Vanuatu flag for millions of people to see.

“As Flag Bearer, it was an honour. I wouldn’t trade anything in the world for that.” Yoshua Shing

When the competition got underway, Shing came up against Mexico’s Marcos Madrid in the preliminary rounds. He lost in straight games.

But win or loss, Shing performed admirably, continuing his attitude and demeanour that has made him a role model not just for athletes in the Pacific, but across the world.