Ellermann and Endrekson to bear Estonian flag at Olympics opening ceremony

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Tõnu Endrekson and Dina Ellermann with the Estonian flag in Tokyo. Source: Estonian Olympic Committee

Equestrian Dina Ellermann and rower Tõnu Endrekson will be the flagbearers for Estonia at the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics on Friday, July 23.

An International Olympic Committee (IOC) protocol amendment now allows national teams to appoint a man and a woman as their flag bearers at the opening ceremony for the Tokyo Olympics, set to begin on Friday.

Estonian Olympic Committee (EOK) sports director Martti Raju said the step is one toward gender equality. "There have never before been this many female athletes represented at the Olympic Games - according to IOC calculations, it is 48.8 percent. As a sign of this, a decision was made to allow athletes of both genders to carry the flag together. Our symbolic choice fell to the most experienced member of our national team, [Tõnu] Endrekson, and [Dina] Ellermann, who is making Estonian sports history," Raju said.

42-year old Tõnu Endrekson is a two-time Olympic medalist, winning silver in the double sculls at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and a bronze in the quadruple sculls at the 2016 Rio Olympics. The Tokyo Olympics are his fifth.

Endrekson said carrying the Estonian flag is a great honor. "The honor of carrying the flag is trusted to the athlete for their services. I am glad that I can finally participate in the opening ceremony before my final Olympics," the rower said.

40-year Dina Ellermann and her horse Donna Anna will make their Olympic debut this year, becoming the first pair in Estonian history to participate in an Olympic equestrian event.

"It is a great honor for me to put Estonian horseback riding on the map. It takes three Olympic cycles to even reach the Olympics, from raising your horse and competing with them. Reaching the Olympics is a win in itself and I am even more glad to bear the flag as a representative of the Estonian horseriding community," Ellermann said.

The Olympic Games will kick off on July 23 and will last until August 8. Estonia is represented by 34 athletes and one horse.

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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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