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Shooter pistol Khalil Akhtar and badminton player Mahoor Shahzad will carry the Pakistan flag during the Tokyo 2020 opening ceremony here on Friday.

Both will compete in the Olympics for the first time.

“We think it is a huge honor to be named the flagship of the Opening Ceremony,” said the couple. Pakistani daily.

“It’s a big time in our career, and it’s also a big time for shooting and badminton.

“It would be an additional motivation for us.

“We look forward to the responsibility at the opening ceremony in Tokyo.”

It is the first time that Pakistan will have common flag bearers at the ceremony, a decision taken to follow a recommendation of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) on gender equality.

In his first Olympics, marksman Khalil Akhtar was one of two flag bearers for Pakistan at the opening ceremony of Tokyo 2020 © Getty Images
In his first Olympics, marksman Khalil Akhtar was one of two flag bearers for Pakistan at the opening ceremony of Tokyo 2020 © Getty Images

Akhtar, 37, an Olympic scholarship recipient, sealed direct qualification for the 2019 International Shooting Sport Federation World Cup in Rio where he finished sixth in the 25-meter rapid-fire pistol.

He is registered to participate in qualifying during the second week of the Games.

Mahoor has received an invitation from the Tripartite Olympic Commission to participate and is set to become the first Pakistani woman to participate in an Olympic badminton tournament.

She will face a test first round match on the first full morning of the Games less than 24 hours after the opening ceremony against 2018 Uber Cup winner and Asian Games gold medalist Akane Yamaguchi of Japan.

Akhtar and Mahoor lead a ten-person team along with other team members competing in track and field, judo, swimming and weightlifting.

Pakistan has not won an Olympic medal since its hockey team won bronze in 1992.