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3x3 star Onolbaatar becomes first-ever female Mongolian flag-bearer at Tokyo Olympics
ULAANBAATAR (Mongolia) – At just 21 years old, 3x3 star Khulan Onolbaatar has been selected to become the flag-bearer for Mongolia at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, the first-ever woman to get this honor.
Mongolia 🇲🇳 flag handed by President Khurelsukh Ukhnaa to Olympic team pic.twitter.com/D8aPY1JS3J— 3x3 🏀 Mongolia (@3x3Mongolia) July 9, 2021
The 5ft 11in (1.80m) player is starting to get used to making history. She’s due to become part of the first team in Mongolian history to compete at the Olympic Games. Her country has a rich history of winning medals in individual sports such as wrestling, boxing and judo (9,8 and 7 medals respectively) but had never ever been at the Olympics in a team sport or discipline.
"I'm happy for sure," Onolbaatar said.
"But the biggest emotion is the pride to be Mongolian. I just can't wrap my head around the idea that I am given this huge opportunity on the biggest stage in sports, at the Olympics. It is every athlete’s dream to represent your country on the biggest stage possible.
After making her 3x3 debut in 2017, she became a household name on the 3x3 scene after leading Mongolia to the quarter-finals of the FIBA 3x3 U23 World Cup 2019, including a memorable buzzer-beating win against Germany.
In her perfect English – she went to school in Australia – she had given a long interview to FIBA3x3.basketball about the incredible rise of 3x3 in Mongolia.
On July 9, she officially received the national flag from Mongolian President Khurelsukh Ukhnaa in an official ceremony.
"This year our Olympic committee decided there should be more female representatives in Mongolian sport," Onolbaatar added.
"Female Mongolian athletes have been performing really strong in international competitions. Becoming the first woman to carry the flag at the Olympics is such an honor. I am so just so proud right now."
Onolbaatar became the second 3x3 athlete to become a flag-bearer at the Olympian opening ceremony after Latvia’s Agnis Cavars.