Fencer Ruben Limardo, gold medallist of the London 2012 Olympic Games, will carry the Venezuelan flag at the opening ceremony of the Rio Olympics, the country's Olympic Committee has announced.
In order to choose the most-deserving athlete to carry the flag, Venezuela held a nation-wide vote and Limardo received the most support, reports Xinhua.
From the Venezuelan Olympic Committee's (COV) headquarters in Caracas, president Eduardo Alvarez made the results of the vote public. The vote went on for two months and Limardo received 32.1 percent of the votes from all Venezuelans.
"I feel very happy to carry the flag in the Olympic Games. This new challenge makes me proud because the people voted for me and trust in me. It wasn't easy because there are top athletes. This gives me a lot of encouragement. I will carry this flag with pride and passion and I will seek the (gold) medal in Rio," Limardo said on Thursday.
The fencer was chosen via electronic vote and votes cast by regional leaders as well as by representatives from Venezuelan media. Athlete Yulimar Rojas came second in the vote.
The president of the National Institute for Sport (IND), Pedro Infante, highlighted the popular and democratic way of voting. "This election process was the people's decision. Whoever carries the flag carries the dreams and pride of 30 million Venezuelan," said Infante.
Ruben Limardo was youth world champion and world champion in his category at the World Cup. He is a three-time gold medallist at the Pan American Games (2007, 2011 and 2015), Olympic gold medallist at London 2012 and silver medallist in the World Championship 2013 in Budapest.