The Australian Defence Force (ADF) will be participating in all ceremonies at the Sydney 2000 Paralympic Games, including the important duty of carrying the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) flag into the stadium at the Opening Ceremony.

Chief Executive of the Sydney Paralympic Organising Committee (SPOC) Lois Appleby said the Australian Defence Force and Australian Services Cadet Scheme would be supporting the Paralympic Ceremonies and the Paralympic Games, as part of the Commonwealth’s contribution to the Sydney 2000 Games.

Uniformed military personnel from the Royal Australian Navy, Australian Army, and Royal Australian Air Force have been given the honour of carrying the IPC flag into the Olympic Stadium (Stadium Australia) during the Opening Ceremony on 18 October.

Defence Force personnel will also be responsible for raising the national flags of the gold, silver and bronze medal winners in all 561 medal events across the 18 Paralympic sports.

In addition, cadets from the three Services will be working with the ADF in the Paralympic Village. They will be part of the ‘Welcome Ceremonies’ for each country arriving to take up residence. The cadets of the Australian Services Cadet Scheme will raise the 125 national flags of the participating countries during these four days of celebration (14-18 October).

These ceremonial flag duties are steeped in military history. The task of ‘trooping’ the flag of the IPC and raising the national flags of the participating countries is regarded by the Australian Defence Force as one of the most prestigious functions it could be asked to support. In keeping with this, the most skilled Service personnel are to be selected to perform these tasks.

‘The Australian Defence Force is the best in the business when it comes to giving our ceremonies the professionalism needed,’ Ms Appleby said. ‘I am delighted they are able to take part and I thank the Australian Government for supporting us for our 12 days in October.’

Commander of Joint Task Force 112, Defence Support to the Sydney Olympic and Paralympic Games, Brigadier Gary Byles, said the Australian Defence Force was proud to be given such prominent and central roles in all the Paralympic medal, Welcoming and Opening and Closing Ceremonies.

‘The military has a strong association with the Paralympic Games, which originally began as a sporting competition for ex-Servicemen in wheelchairs to coincide with the 1948 London Olympics.

‘It is with great pride we support this international event. Our Service personnel and the Australian Services Cadet Scheme are honoured to be able to work with the dedicated athletes, organisers and support staff of the Sydney 2000 Paralympic Games,’ said Brigadier Byles.

Source: SOCOG