Tokyo Paralympics: Ellie Simmonds and John Stubbs announced as ParalympicsGB flagbearers

Video report by ITV News Asia Correspondent Debi Edward

Paralympic champions Ellie Simmonds OBE and John Stubbs MBE have been announced as the flagbearers for Team GB at the opening ceremony of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games on Tuesday.

Ellie Simmonds will be the first woman to carry the flag for Great Britain at the Summer Paralympic Games since fellow swimmer Maggie McEleny in 2000.

At age 56, John Stubbs is the oldest athlete on the ParalympicsGB team for Tokyo 2020 and will be the first archer to carry the flag in recent Paralympic history.

Great Britain's Ellie Simmonds at the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games Credit: PA

John Stubbs said: “It’s an absolute honour to be representing ParalympicsGB as flag bearer alongside Ellie. I felt incredibly emotional when I was told the news. For any elite athlete to go to the Games and be bestowed this honour is a privilege. Words can’t describe what it means to me.“It’s been a torrid year – unfortunately I lost my Dad in January. He was my biggest fan, and hopefully if he’s looking down on me, he’s there saying, ‘do it for the Stubbs family John, you’ve earned it and you deserve it’. I know my family will be as proud as punch.”

Great Britain's John Stubbs at the Paralympic Games in Rio, 2016 Credit: PA

This will be both Ellie Simmonds and John Stubbs' fourth Paralympic games. Stubbs won gold in the Individual Compound event at Beijing 2008 and silver in the Mixed Team Compound eight years later at Rio 2016. 26-year-old Simmonds won a gold and bronze medal at Rio 2016, as well as four medals at London 2012. In her debut Games in Beijing 2008, she won two medals.

Ellie Simmonds said, “I’m hugely honoured to carry the flag for the ParalympicsGB team – on behalf of all the athletes, support staff and for the entire nation back home. To go the Paralympic Games and be given the opportunity to do that is just amazing.“This is going to be my fourth games and my first opening ceremony. Just to be here in Tokyo is amazing but to carry the flag is the icing on the cake and I can’t wait for the competition to start.”

Penny Briscoe OBE is ParalympicsGB's Chef de Mission for the Paralympic games, and the Director of Sport for the British Paralympic Association.

Chef de Mission Penny Briscoe Credit: PA

She said: “Both Ellie and John exemplify what it means to be a ParalympicsGB athlete. Their excellence on the field of play as well as their integrity, leadership and commitment to the team is something very special.“I am delighted Ellie and John will jointly carry the Union Flag on Tuesday and I have no doubt that by their example they will inspire the whole of the ParalympicsGB team to achieve great things over the coming 12 days of competition.”

The ParalympicsGB team brought home 147 medals from the Rio 2016 Games, including 64 golds, finishing second in the overall medal table. This year's games, staged from the 24th of August until the 5th of September, has a ParalympicsGB team made up of 227 athletes.