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Page last updated at 17:59 GMT, Saturday, 6 September 2008 18:59 UK

Flag-bearer Crates hails ceremony

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Video - Crates carries GB Paralympic flag

Athlete Danny Crates revealed that carrying the British flag at Saturday's Paralympic Games opening ceremony in Beijing had been 'truly awesome'.

Crates, 35, competing in his third Games and defending his T46 800m title, led his team-mates into the Bird's Nest cheered on by 91,000 noisy spectators.

"It was utterly spectacular, even more so than I had imagined," Crates said.

Despite struggling with an Achilles problem, he should be ready for the start line on Sunday 14 September.

You feel yourself welling up when you are part of an opening ceremony anyway

Danny Crates
The former rugby player who lost his arm in a road accident in Australia in 1994 added: "I don't think you can prepare yourself for walking out in front of 91,000 people.

"I had goose bumps. It was such a huge honour. To lead such a professional, well prepared team of elite athletes is a very proud moment.

"You feel yourself welling up when you are part of an opening ceremony anyway, let alone carrying the flag. But being a true Essex lad I held the tears back."

Shot putter and discus thrower Gemma Prescott, set for her Paralympic debut, said: "It's really, really impressive. I didn't know what to expect.

"Watching the Olympics was something really spectacular but I didn't know it would be like this. It was so exciting to parade, especially because I am an athlete and to think I am going to be throwing in this stadium in a few days is awesome."

see also
Dazzling show opens Paralympics
06 Sep 08 |  Paralympics
Paralympics opening ceremony photos
06 Sep 08 |  Paralympics
Chin is re-classified for Beijing
06 Sep 08 |  Paralympics
IPC chief hoping for clean Games
06 Sep 08 |  Paralympics
Crates fit to defend 800m title
20 Aug 08 |  Paralympics
A-Z of Paralympic classification
28 Aug 08 |  Paralympics
Paralympics on the BBC
25 Aug 08 |  Paralympics
GB Paralympic team for Beijing
24 Jul 08 |  Paralympics
Why the Paralympics matter
05 Sep 08 |  Paralympics

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