Caitlin Rooskrantz, Akani Simbine named Team SA Olympic flag bearers

Caitlin Rooskrantz, Akani Simbine named Team SA Olympic flag bearers

South African sprint ace Akani Simbine and artistic gymnast Caitlin Rooskranz will carry the country's flag at the Olympic Games opening ceremony in Paris later this month.

This was confirmed by the SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee president Barry Hendricks during the send-off gala dinner held at Emperor’s Palace in Kempton Park on Tuesday evening.

Rooskrantz, who is making her second Olympic appearance, is the first gymnast in history to be named as a flag bearer and she describes the honour as the biggest highlight of her career.

"I feel super excited and super proud – it's definitely something I would not have dreamed about. I don't know, it really caught me off guard today, I did not see it coming," said Rooskrantz.

"But I am super excited nonetheless, and I'm excited to represent South Africa as a whole and lead us into this Olympic Games."

Being named a flag bearer often comes with the expectation of winning a medal at the Olympic Games, however, the 22-year-old is determined not to let the pressure of this prestigious honour affect her performance in Paris.

"I never have [let the pressure get to her], there's always going to be external pressure, but my biggest goal and expectations I have for myself is to be better than who I was at the competition before this," she added.

"I was pretty young at the Tokyo Olympics, and I have matured a bit over the years now, and really that is my biggest goal – to try and better my performance.

"I had a personal best performance then, and really just to top onto that, I've gotten so much better since then. So it's really just give my best and not really worry about any external pressure.

"It's easy for people to call the shots on all the results, but they don't really fully understand the circumstance from which we come."

READ: Akani Simbine optimistic about his chances at the Olympic Games