BUENOS AIRES, July 4 (Xinhua) -- Argentine president Cristina Fernandez gave Friday the country's flag to basketball player Emanuel Ginobili who will lead the delegation for the Olympic Games of Beijing 2008.
At the sport center of the National Center of Sport High Efficiency (Cenard), the ceremony were attended by national, provincial and sports authorities and sportsmen who will compete in the Olympics.
Among those were Ginobili and his team mate Fabricio Oberto, soccer players Juan Ramon Riquelme and Javier Mascherano, and field hockey player Magdalena Aicega.
"I want to tell u 'Manu' (Ginobili) and all the guys that will compete in the Olympic Games of Beijing, to think a lot in us, that from here we will support you all. Go with faith, courage and strength. Go," Fernandez said.
Former athlete Osvaldo Suarez, who won three times the San Silvestre marathon (1958, 1959 and 1960), handed the flag to Ginobili.
Wheelchair marathoner Carlos "Beto" Rodriguez took the insignia that was given to soccer player Silvio Velo, the flag bearer of the Argentine delegation for the Paralympic Games of Beijing.
Also attended the event were rower Gabriel Best, taekwondo Vanina Sanchez Beron, swimmer Liliana Guiscardo, archery Juan Carlos Dasque and boxer Ezequiel Maderna.
"This is the prize to the work, honesty, effort and sacrifice" because "sportsmen that have reached here, reached because they take care of themselves, they train and they make permanent sacrifices in the best way," Fernandez said.
"I remember that when I was child, I didn't like sports, but when I grew up I began to understand the importance of it. The sports practice helps us to think better and gives oxygen to the head. At least 20 years ago I quit smoking, a way to contribute to the healthy life," Fernandez said.