The Rio Olympics kicked off with a spectacular bang this weekend in Brazil, with the opening ceremony catching the attention of billions of people worldwide. From Gisele strutting her stuff down the world's longest catwalk
to an all-out dance party, it certainly was a visual treat. But the thing that caught our eye? 18-year-old Nada Al Bedwawi proudly acting as the UAE flag-bearer, leading our team of 13 athletes into the Maracanã Stadium on Saturday morning, local time.
Nada, who will represent the UAE in the women's 50m freestyle, told The National that she only discovered she'd been given the honour as she was browsing the internet late one evening last week. "I was sitting in my room scrolling through Facebook and then, like two seconds later, my mum called me and was like 'Nada, you're going to be the flag-bearer! I was really shocked; I never thought they would give me the honour. It is the greatest privilege any athlete can be given from their country. It is such a rare opportunity."
She's not wrong, given that after this weekend Nada is only the second ever female flag-bearer for the UAE, with Sheikha Maitha bint Mohammed bin Rashid before her. She is also the first female to represent the region in swimming in an Olympics.
The UAE has a total of four female athletes competing in the games - Alia Saeed Mohammed and Betlhem Desalegn in athletics, Ayesha Al Balooshi in weightlifting and Nada in swimming - and we can't wait to proudly cheer them on.