A last-minute change to the Olympic rowing schedule has forced Hamish Bond to hand over his Opening Ceremony flagbearer duties, as he instead prepares for an early race tomorrow morning.
Bond was named Te Pou Hapai Tane on June 23rd in Auckland, along with Te Pou Hapai Wahine Sarah Hirini (rugby sevens).
Double Commonwealth Games gold medal winning boxer David Nyika has been named Te Pou Hapai Tane in his place by Chef de Mission Rob Waddell.
Bond was told this evening (JPN time) that the New Zealand men’s rowing eight would now be racing tomorrow (July 24th).
“Unfortunately, this late and unexpected change means I’ve had to make a very tough decision,” said Bond.
“Although being flagbearer is a huge honour, ultimately I came to Tokyo to compete and that means I need to prioritise being in the best possible condition for racing tomorrow.
“I have no doubt that David and Sarah will do a fantastic job leading the team and I look forward to watching them carry our flag.”
For Nyika, this afternoon’s news was yet another twist in his long and complex journey to the Olympic Games.
“This was hugely unexpected but I couldn’t be more proud to step up,” said Nyika.
“This is a huge honour and there's so many athletes who are deserving of this privilege, it’s really special and I’m super proud.
“Filling Hamish Bond’s shoes will be a big ask but I’m really looking forward to walking alongside Sarah and representing the New Zealand team and our nation.
“From missing Rio, to being about to head to Wuhan when the qualifiers were moved and the Games postponed, to lockdown in New Zealand and finally selection, it’s been an unbelievable road to the Games. This is a huge way to kick off my Olympic campaign for real.”