TEAM TTO female sprinter Kelly-Ann Baptiste will make history by becoming this country’s first female flag-bearer at an Olympic Games when the opening ceremony of the July-23-August 8 Tokyo 2020 Games takes place at 7 a.m. (TT) time Friday.
TeamTTO chef de mission Lovie Santana made the announcement, adding that due to the COVID-19 countermeasures currently enforce in Tokyo, only 12 persons from the TTO delegation from the main Olympic Village will participate at the opening ceremony.
"It's an honor to walk alongside our first female flag bearer, Kelly Ann Baptiste who will create history for Trinidad and Tobago at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics when she leads our delegation into the opening ceremony.
She is definitely deserving given her incredible career as an athlete and Olympian," said Santana, also the TTOC Senior Administrator Officer.
Baptiste already made history when she joined this country’s legendary swimmer George Bovell as the most capped Olympian, set to make her fifth appearance at the quadrennial Games in Tokyo.
Bovell made his five consecutive appearances starting with the 2000 Sydney Olympics followed by his historic bronze medal-winning effort at the 2004 Athens Games, TeamTTO’s sole medal for that edition of the Olympics, also splashing into action in the 2008 Beijing Games (semi-final) and 2012 London Games (7th) before hanging up his goggles and cap following a first round exit at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
For her part, Baptiste will also be making five consecutive appearances in a record that saw her making her Olympic debut as part of the women’s 4 x 100m relay team at the 2004 Athens Games when Tobagonian led off the relay team.
Four years later at the 2008 Beijing edition, she reached the second round in the individual event while another baton mishap saw another disqualification in the women’s 4 x 100m relay.
Baptiste’s best Olympic performance came at the 2012 London Games where she finished sixth in the final but Team TTO’s women’s relay woes continued.
And in 2016 Rio, she exited at the second round.
At the Tokyo Games, the 34-year-old Baptiste will again line up on the women's 100m dash and women's 4 x 100m relay.
She is the stateswoman of TeamTTO squad and is expected to support two-time Olympic medallist Keshorn Walcott at the helm of a 33-member TeamTTO delegation to the July 23-August 8 Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
When the TeamTTO delegation was named on July 3, TTOC president Brian Lewis had hinted that Team TTO may make history by naming its first female flag-bearer for the Tokyo Games.
That suggestion became a reality today.
"It's a significant moment in T&T Olympic History...Congratulations to five- time Olympian Kelly-Ann Baptiste, she has served Trinidad andTobago with dedication, determination, class and dignity. " said Lewis, also president of the Caribbean Association of National Olympic Committees (CANOC).
This year's Olympic Games also holds special significance for the TTOC as it coincides with its 75th anniversary.