by Fiona O’Brien
Top cyclist Martyn Irvine has been selected as the official flag bearer for Team Northern Ireland at tonight’s opening ceremony for the Commonwealth Games 2014.
The 29-year-old won a bronze medal at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi and represented Ireland at London 2012.
The Co. Down man will take part in three events in Glasgow, the 20K Scratch and 40K Points race this weekend and then the Road Race on Friday 1st August.
“I’m honoured to be considered as flag bearer considering there are a lot of other athletes in the team with bigger CVs than I have,” he said.
“There are little chances to represent Northern Ireland in my lifetime, possibly eight to nine and so to do so in Glasgow so close to home in front of friends and family is a real honour”.
Irvine has had a tough year following a broken femur after he won gold at the 2013 UCI World Track Championships Scratch race.
However, working hard to get back to full fitness, he took bronze in the European Track Championships later that year as well as winning the World Cup, Ireland’s first gold medal in a World cup event for nearly two decades.
He started off 2014 by winning silver in the UCI World Track Championships in February, and is the first cyclist since Morris Foster MBE to have the honour of carrying the flag at the Commonwealth Games.
The opening ceremony is due to begin at Celtic Park at 8pm tonight and is estimated to have a global audience of 1.5 billion, with Rod Stewart and Susan Boyle some of the performers lined up to entertain.
Chef de Mission Robert McVeigh said: “We are delighted to appoint Martyn as official flag bearer as he epitomises the spirit of Team Northern Ireland.
“He has demonstrated an ability to galvanise all our sports into one team.”