POOLE-BASED Olympic champion Hannah Mills admits being given flagbearer duties for Team GB at Tokyo 2020's opening ceremony is the "greatest honour" of her career.

Mills, 33, won gold at Rio 2016 and silver at London 2012 with Saskia Clark in the 470 category and aims to medal for a third Games with teammate Eilidh McIntyre.

She was named alongside rower Moe Sbihi, who won gold in the coxless four in Rio and bronze in the men’s eight in London.

Mills will be the first female British sailor to carry the Union flag at an Olympics opening ceremony.

McInytre, with whom Mills won the 2019 470 World Championship, will share the moment with her teammate as one of just a handful of British athletes who will march behind the flagbearers tomorrow.

“Getting to carry the flag for Team GB at the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games is not a sentence I ever thought I’d say,” said Mills, from Cardiff.

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“When Mark told me I had been chosen, it was completely overwhelming and when I had a moment to think about what it meant I got pretty emotional.

“It is the greatest honour in my career and I hope more than ever before, this Games can lift our country and deliver some incredible sporting moments to inspire the nation.”

Dorset Echo: Poole-based Hannah Mills Picture: SAM MELLISH/TEAM GBPoole-based Hannah Mills Picture: SAM MELLISH/TEAM GB

Team GB Chef de Mission Mark England said: “Having spoken personally with Hannah and Moe, it was clear to see what this honour meant to them.

"Not only what it meant personally, but also for their teammates and wider delegation in what has been the most difficult and unprecedented 18 months for everyone in the United Kingdom.

“Both athletes embody the Values of Team GB and they are thoroughly deserving of this great honour. Hannah and Moe have already created multiple Olympic memories and I have no doubt they will add to these in Tokyo over the next 16 days.”

The news comes as a timely boost to the sailors of Team GB as they prepare to take on the world’s best on the waters of Enoshima, the same venue as the sailing competition at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, across the ten Olympic classes.

Racing starts on Sunday July 25 with men’s and women’s RS:X windsurfing plus the Laser and Laser Radial singlehanders, and concludes on August 4 with the medal races for the men’s and women’s 470.