Martial Arts Represents at Parade of Nations

Martial Arts Represents at Parade of Nations
Did you watch the opening ceremonies of the 2012 London Olympics?

If you thought you saw Judo or Taekwondo a lot last night, you were correct. In fact, of the 204 countries that joined the Parade of Nations, 29 of them had flag bearers competing in either of those two sports.

Being a flag bearer is one of the greatest honors that can be bestowed upon an athlete before they even compete. Each country has the right to select their own flag bearer. Often countries pick an athlete based upon their fame or some significant contribution they may have made for the team.

The 29 bearers who participate in either Judo or Taekwondo were:

  • Alexandros Nikolaidis (Greece) – Taekwondo
      As the first athlete to step into the arena, he set the tone for the night and did his country proud. Alexandros is not new to the Olympics, having won silver in the 2004 & 2008 Games and was the first torchbearer in the 2008 Olympic torch relay.

  • Nesar Ahmad Bahave (Afghanistan) – Taekwondo
      Nesar has not won on the Olympic stage yet but has had several other world championships.

  • Antonia Moreira (Angola) – Judo
      Antonia competed in the 2004 Summer Olympics and lost in round 16 to Kim Ryon-Mi of North Korea.

  • Arman Yeremyan (Armenia) – Taekwondo
      Arman is making his first appearance in the Olympics this year. He has previous competed in Rome, winning gold at the 2008 European Championships

  • Elnur Mammadli (Azerbaijan) – Judo
      Elnur made an amazing win in 2008 Beijing Olympics by taking the gold from favorite Wang Ki-Chun. He's struggled the years following that year but has recently emerged again with renewed championships under his belt.

  • Jacob Gnahoui (Benin) – Judo
      Jacob is only 1 of 5 competitors to qualify for this country to compete.

  • Amel Mekic (Bosnia and Herzegovina) – Judo
      Amel has consistently been ranked as one of the top people in sports for his country. He was also the flag bearer for his country in the 2008 Beijing Olympics

  • Severine Nebie (Burkina Faso) – Judo
      Severine is 1 of 5 competitors to qualify for this country to compete and the only one for Judo from his country. He has won many international and continental tournaments.

  • Sorn Davin (Cambodia) – Taekwondo
      Sorn is a wild card entry into Taekwondo but there's still a lot of hope for this young star. She's previous been the 2011 silver medalist at the 2011 Southeast Asian Games.

  • Seulki Kang (Central African Republic) – Taekwondo
      Seulki is one of 6 competitors competing for her country this year. She and her fellow teammate, Patrick Boui, will represent their country in Taekwondo.

  • Carine Ngarlemdana (Chad) – Judo
      Carine is only 1 of 3 competitors for her country this year.

  • Gabriel Mercedes (Dominican Republic) – Taekwondo
      Gabriel won silver in the 2008 Beijing Olympics and only losing on a judge's decision.

  • Hesham Mesbah (Egypt) – Judo
      Hesham won the bronze medal in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Egypt's first judo medal in 24 years.

  • Josateki Naulu (Fiji) – Judo
      Josateki is one of 9 competitors to qualify for this country to compete. Some websites are naming him the hottest flag bearer of the night.

  • Facinet Keita (Guinea) – Judo
      Facinet is one of 4 competitors to quality for this country to compete.

  • Linouse Desravine (Haiti) – Judo
      Linouse is one of 5 competitors to quality for this country to compete.

  • Nadin Dawani (Jordan) – Taekwondo
      Nadin has competed previously in the 2004 Beijing Olympics and made it to the semi-finals

  • Chingiz Mamedov (Kyrgyzshan) – Judo
      Chingiz has won several accolades on the national level and received 3 bronze medals on the world stage

  • Andrea Paoli (Lebanon) – Taekwondo
      Andrea is ranked 8th in the world and has won the Taekwondo champion of Lebanon for five consecutive seasons.

  • Marie Muller (Luxembourg) – Judo
      Marie has previously participated in the 2008 Beijing Olympics where she placed 9th. She's also placed 1st in the Sweden Open in 2007

  • Fetra Ratsimiziva (Madagascar) – Judo
      Fetra is one of only 3 competitors of the 7 representing this country this year that qualified rather than receive a wild-card spot.

  • Maria Espinoza (Mexico) – Taekwondo
      Maria won gold in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, obtaining the 2nd gold for that team that year.

  • Wiam Dislam (Morocco) – Taekwondo
      Wiam has won 15 out of the 24 registered fights she's participated in and placed gold in the Austrian Open and bronze in the Spanish and Belgian Open earlier this year.

  • Maher Abu Remeleh (Palestine) – Judo
      Maher is the first ever from his country to qualify for the Olympic games on merit.

  • Telma Monteiro (Portugal) – Judo
      Telma is ranked 2nd in the world and won silver in the last European and World Championships

  • Hortense Diedhiou (Senegal) – Judo
      Hortense won bronze in the Bucharest World Cup, silver in the Avrican Championships Agadir earlier this year.

  • Dominic Dugasse (Seychelles) – Judo
      Dominic has participated previously in the Lisbon World Cup, ranking 7th.

  • Roman Gontiuk (Ukraine) – Judo
      Roman won silver in the 2004 Athens Olympics and bronze in the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

  • Tameem Al-Kabati (Yemen) – Taekwondo
      Tameem has been in 5 previous international tournaments and won 4 out of the 9 registered fights he participated in

To round the night out, the Olympics Oath on behalf of the competitors was done by Sarah Stevenson, British Taekwondo participant and first medalist in the Olympics for her country with a Bronze in 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Congratulations to all athletes in the Olympics and thank you for representing Martial Arts so well during the Parade of Nations.

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