Delicious Orie selected as Team GB flagbearer after winning gold at record-breaking European Games
The final day of action at the European Games saw Team GB claim two golds and one bronze, with heavyweight boxer Delicious Orie selected to carry the flag at the Closing Ceremony after claiming the +92kg title.
Team GB won a total of 49 medals throughout the Games, topping their previous record of 47 medals won at Baku 2015.
“I can’t tell you how much this means to me,” said Orie. “I’m so proud to represent Team GB – it’s all I’ve ever wanted to do since I started boxing, and here we are. I’m a flagbearer… all my dreams are just coming true in one day! It’s all come together. I’m very grateful.
“It means everything to be able to carry this flag and represent Great Britain. I’ve been through so much growing up, and this country has given me so many opportunities. Great Britain is the reason I’m here standing, it’s the reason I’ve got a gold medal. The people are amazing, it’s a land of opportunity, and here I am, proving it.
“Man, I just can’t put it into words. For me, this is my thank you – winning gold medals for my country. To be able to hold this flag above my head and show the Great British public that I adore them… I just want to say thank you everyone so much for your support – you’re the reason I’m here doing my thing.”
Ahead of Orie’s gold medal bout against Mahammad Abdullayev of Azerbaijan, the 6 foot 6 heavyweight had already confirmed Team GB a quota place Paris 2024. He adds the European title to his collection alongside the Commonwealth Games title he brought home in 2022.
On the final day of competition in canoe slalom, Ryan Westley stormed to victory in the men’s C1 final to secure Team GB another quota spot for Paris 2024. This marks an emotional return to form for Westley, who has had a difficult season to date.
“I can’t really believe it,” Westley said afterwards. “I came into the season with loads of confidence, felt like I’d had a really good winter’s training. I was in the best shape I’ve been for a long time, then my races just weren’t stacking up like I thought they should be, so I really came into this one with no expectations and I’ve had three pretty good runs across the competition.
“We got a bronze in the team competition the other day and I saw the Germans’ gold medals and thought ‘those look nice and shiny’. Never thought I’d get one for myself, so I’m buzzing. I’m really looking forward to standing up there in my Team GB tracksuit and hearing the national anthem.”
And in the women’s competition, Mallory Franklin added to the medal haul with a bronze, with her turn of speed enough to book her a place on the podium.
Franklin had mixed emotions after her run: “It definitely feels a bit odd. There was a lot I left out there in – my run wasn’t amazing and three touches feels like a bit much. I knew I had the pace and gained a bit with a couple of the spins […] I’m pleased to come away with a medal. To have that kind of pace to get away with the three touches is pretty cool, too!”
Hear a round up of all the action from Team GB at the European Games here, with featured interviews from gold medallists Abbie Brown and Meg Jones – co-captains of the women’s rugby sevens side – taekwondo fighters Jade Jones and Caden Cunningham, BMX rider Kieran Reilly and many more.