Paddy Barnes "extremely proud" to be Ireland's Olympic flagbearer in Rio

The boxer is looking to win a medal in his third Olympic Games in a row

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Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

Belfast boxer Paddy Barnes will lead the Irish team into the Maracana Stadium in Rio on August 5th after he was announced today as Ireland's flagbearer for the Olympic Games.

Barnes will compete in his third Olympics this summer having won bronze medals in 2008 and 2012. The 29-year-old will be one of Ireland's most experienced at the Games.

"I'm just extremely proud" he said this afternoon,"You know Katie Taylor carried it last time and she won a gold medal. I'm carrying this time, I'd love to win a gold medal too.

"It's as important to me as winning a medal, for me it's a great, great honour. I couldn't believe it when Pat [Hickey] rang me. They had a meeting and the decision was unanimous."

The Light-Flyweight will be the second boxer in a row to lead the team during the Opening Ceremony, following in Katie Taylor's footsteps from 2012. He will be the fourth Irish boxer since 1988 to be given the honour.

Barnes spoke when the announcement was made about his honour to lead the team. "I’m delighted to have been asked to carry the Irish flag into the Olympic Stadium at the Opening Ceremony. It’s an amazing feeling to represent Ireland at an Olympic Games and I’ve been lucky enough to experience it twice before already."

"Going to my third Olympic Games as the flag bearer for Team Ireland now is just an incredible honour. I will be going for gold in Rio in the ring but I will also have the responsibility of helping to build a really positive environment for all Irish athletes. I could not be more excited about the next 100 days."

The news comes as the Olympic Council of Ireland celebrated 100 days to go until the start of the Games. London 2012 veterans Annalise Murphy, Arthur Lanigan O'Keeffe and Kieran Behan spoke to Newstalk Breakfast on Wednesday morning about their preparations for the event in Brazil.