Following the Olympic tradition, the opening ceremony of Rio’s 2016 Olympic Games will feature a Parade of Nations. Led by the athlete chosen to raise the nation’s flag, athletes and officials from each participating country will march in the Maracanã Stadium on August 5.
The ritual includes the Greek Olympic squad entering first, while the host nation’s goes last. Other countries enter in alphabetical order according to the host country’s language.
Every National Olympic Committee should select an athlete to lead its Olympic delegation and showcase the national flag to the three billion viewers around the world. So far from the Arab world, the designated Egyptian, Moroccan and Tunisian flag-bearers have been revealed.
Alaaeldin Abouelkassem, Egypt (Fencer)
He is not only the first Egyptian, but the first African fencer to win an Olympic medal. He will lead the largest-ever Egyptian contingent of an estimated 120 Olympians at the opening ceremony in Rio, where he hopes to convert his 2012 Olympic foil fencing silver to a historic gold.
Abdelkebir Ouaddar, Morocco (Jump Rider)
When 54-year-old Ouaddar marches ahead of about forty Moroccans in the Rio Olympics, he will become the oldest Moroccan to ever take part in the Olympic Games since Charles Benitah went to the 1960 Olympics at 53. Known for his charisma and radiating serenity, Ouaddar was the first Moroccan rider to qualify for the Equestrian World Championships in 2014, according to Le Matin .
Oussama Mellouli, Tunisia (Swimmer)
Who would be more qualified to present Tunisia’s delegation than the nation’s only double Olympic gold medalist, and the world's first swimmer to win medals in a single Olympics for both pool and open water events?
Mellouli has competed in all four Olympic Games since Sydney 2000, bringing home the gold for the men’s 1,500 meter freestyle from Beijing 2008 and the bronze from London 2012, where he won gold at the men’s 10 kilometer open water event. This year, the swimmer has a shot at adding two Olympic medals to his tally, having qualified for both the 1,500 meter race and the open water marathon.
Additionally, judoka Zeyad Mater is expected to carry the Yemeni flag, since he is currently the only athlete set to represent Yemen at Rio 2016, besides swimmer Mokhtar Al-Yamani. However, the latter had declined the position, believing he does not qualify for that honor considering he grew up in Japan and has only visited Yemen once.