Sport

Former coach proud to see Meares carry flag for Australia

Anna Meares of Australia poses with the Australian flag after she was announced as the flag bearer for the opening ceremony.
Anna Meares of Australia poses with the Australian flag after she was announced as the flag bearer for the opening ceremony. Robert Cianflone/Getty Images

YOU COULD hear the pride swell in Ken "Reggie" Tucker's voice when he learned that Anna Meares would carry the flag for Australia at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games opening ceremony.

"That's great. I am really pleased," he said when The Morning Bulletin broke the news to him in an early-morning phone call yesterday.

"It's about time. I think she has earned it."

Tucker, who started coaching Meares in Rockhampton when she was a teenager, said it was a fitting tribute for a champion who has dominated international cycling for close to a decade.

Meares, a dual Olympic gold medallist who hails from Central Queensland, received the news from chef de mission Steve Moneghetti at the Team Australia reception at the Kelvingrove Art Gallery.

The 30-year-old is competing in her fourth Commonwealth Games at Glasgow.

She is on track to equal, likely surpass, Australian Kathy Watt's record tally of seven Commonwealth medals when she rides in her pet event, the 500m time trial, and the track sprint.

An emotional Meares fought back tears after the announcement and posted on her Facebook page: "Flag bearer! #proud #honoured #emotional #humbled #ecstatic #privileged Thank you for this moment."

Tucker continues to marvel at Meares' incredible mental strength and her want to win.

She overcame a broken neck in a serious race fall in early 2008, going on to win a silver medal at the Beijing Olympics just seven months later.

"She's got a very good strength of mind," Tucker said. "You don't achieve anything in life without having a good, strong mind and Anna's achievements are beyond belief."

Tucker said he would be glued to the television as his charge chased more Games glory.

He would also "watch on with pride" as she took centre stage in the opening ceremony.

The 2014 Commonwealth Games opening ceremony starts at 5.30am tomorrow on Channel Ten.

MEARES' MILESTONES

Olympic Games

Three Games: two gold, one silver, two bronze

Commonwealth Games

Three Games: Four gold, one silver, one bronze

World titles

Four: 500m time trial 2004, 2007, 2012; keirin 2012

Topics:  anna meares, coach, commonwealth games 2014, cycling, glasgow




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