03:00PM, Sunday 14 November 2021
Maidenhead’s Olympic bronze medal winner, Moe Sbihi, has been speaking about what an honour it was to be named Team GB’s flag bearer for the Tokyo Olympics this summer.
Sbihi carried the Union Jack flag into the Olympic Stadium during the opening ceremony before going on to claim one of the rowing team’s few Olympic medals on the Sea Forest Waterway.
The Boyn Hill resident was part of the men’s eight rowing team which claimed bronze behind Germany and winners New Zealand in a nail-biting final on August 30. He returned home to a heroes welcome from neighbours in Rutland Place. Sbihi was selected as flag bearer for his third Olympics, having won gold at Rio in 2016.
Speaking at an event where Chesham’s Stephen Fitzgerald received a personal rowing session with Sbihi, he said it had been ‘a huge honour to be named as the male flagbearer for the opening ceremony’ and said the experience ‘still hasn’t sunk in yet’.
The Olympic rower went on to discuss how he always wanted to be involved ‘in the sporting world, but never imagined that it would be in the sport of rowing” – even admitting that ‘rowing is a funny sport’.
His Olympic journey started when he was noticed by a talent ID program at the age of 15.
He said: “They noticed that I had raw [rowing] potential. I soon fell in love with the sport, and it gave me so much back in return.”
Stephen won a competition launched by Birds Eye, and in collaboration with Tesco, to train with a GB athlete and he and three friends were put through their paces by Moe at Fulham Boat Club.
Stephen, a Technical Support Engineer from Chesham, said: “I’ve never rowed before, I’ve only done canoeing and paddle boarding, but this was a totally new experience – I’d definitely try it again, especially as Moe was such an inspiration to learn from. I was really excited to have won such a phenomenal prize.”
There will be displays at Windsor Racecourse and Legoland, local fireworks in Burnham and Twyford and smaller displays at schools in the Royal Borough.