7 Fearnley in race to carry our flag
WHEELCHAIR hero Kurt Fearnley will vie with swim superstars Mitch Larkin and the Campbell sisters for the honour of carrying the Australian flag at the closing ceremony farewell party for the Commonwealth Games tonight.
The integration of parasports into the main program has been an overwhelming success story for these Games and Fearnley (below), who will retire from international competition after this morning’s T54 wheelchair marathon, is tipped as a slight favourite to earn flag-bearing duties.
After a widely panned opening ceremony, organisers have promised to go out with the bang tonight with performers including Guy Sebastian, Dami Im and Yothu Yindi.
There are still about 3000 tickets left for tonight’s signing off extravaganza.
Games Minister Kate Jones yesterday gave the Gold Coast Games an “A++” rating while chairman Peter Beattie said they had b e en “bloody fantastic”.
M r Beattie said more than 1.2 million tickets had been sold in what was effectively a “full house” and social media coverage had been “extraordinary”. Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the Games had shown the world that Queensland has the expertise and an outstanding legacy of sporting facilities to host any number of world-class events. She will send Ms Jones to Thailand tomorrow for the international SportAccord convention in a bid to lure more big-name events. “The World Athletics Championships are a definite prospect,” Ms Palaszczuk said. “We have the right climate and the specialised infrastructure in place now ready to go. “While we can rightly enjoy some reflected glory we can’t ease up in leveraging more international contests to come here. And now is the time to act, while the Games are still fresh in the minds of the world’s top sporting bodies, administrators and promoters.” Ms Palaszczuk, who was snubbed in the opening ceremony speeches, is expected to tonight deliver a closing Games address about Queensland entering the “golden age”.