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Talbot To Carry Flag At World Student Games

Talbot To Carry Flag At World Student Games

Champion Auckland backstroker Scott Talbot was today thrilled to be told he has been given the honour of carrying the New Zealand flag at the World Student Games opening ceremony in Daegu, South Korea.

New Zealand's best medal prospect, Talbot will captain a team of 55 athletes at the student games.

Talbot, 22, says he treasures the chance to lead his country in such a prestigious international event. For swimmers, only the Olympics and the World Championships rate higher in the competition stakes than the World Student Games.

"There are plenty of talented athletes in the New Zealand team, so that makes it an added thrill to be chosen to carry the flag for them,'' Talbot says.

University Sport New Zealand vice president and professional rowing coach Glen Sinclair will head a team that includes athletes competing in athletics, swimming, fencing, women's soccer and women's volleyball.

Chef de mission, Glen Sinclair, said Talbot, who swam at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games, was an obvious choice to bear the flag.

``In and out of the water, Scott has proved himself worthy of an honour that isn't granted lightly,'' Sinclair said.

With the cream of the world's university students set to clash in South Korea, Talbot is looking forward to what he calls a ``really classy meet''. It will provide him and those teammates with one eye on the 2004 Olympics with a great opportunity to get intense international experience exactly one year out from the Athens games.

Talbot will get an insight into how well his training and build-up for Daegu worked, and how it could be further fine-tuned going into Athens.

``The Student Games are a chance for us to compete on the world stage and for us to show the public what we can do," he says.

The winter nationals 50m, 100m and 200m backstroke champion, Talbot has been part of New Zealand's swimming elite since he went to the 1999 World Championships and the Sydney Olympics.

His goal at the Student Games is to win a medal, which would make him only the second New Zealand athlete - after swimmer Anthony Mosse -- to medal at the event. His best chance probably lies in the 100m backstroke, and he's after New Zealand records in both the 50m and 100m events.

The World Student Games are known internationally as the Universiade, a combination of the terms "University" and "Olympiad".

The Summer Universiade is held every two years. About 7000 student athletes aged 17-28 years, from more than 170 nations, will compete in 14 sports.

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