A gay Paralympian has been chosen as Team GB’s flag bearer for the Paralympic Games Opening Ceremony tonight.

Lee Pearson CBE, one of the team’s most decorated athletes, will lead the UK’s Paralympians in the Maracana stadium in Rio.

The dressage competitor, who has 12 medals including ten golds, has been taking part in the games since Sydney in 2000. He was nominated by his fellow competitors on Team GB.

“I am so proud and honoured to be the flagbearer for such a talented, strong and passionate group of British athletes,” he said.

“Being a diverse character myself has meant that being voted by the athletes themselves has made this moment even more special.

“I genuinely feel that we are among the best prepared and supported athletes at the Paralympic Games and I can’t wait to lead my fellow teammates from Paralympics GB into the stadium in a day’s time – I hope I don’t get blown away!”

Paralympics GB Chef de Mission, Penny Briscoe, said that Pearson had been a cornerstone of the equestrian team since Sydney and had helped to establish the United Kingdom as a leading nation in the games.

She said: “I was delighted to inform him that he has been chosen, with the backing of his peers in Rio, to take the role of flag bearer in the Opening Ceremony, and the team will be proud to march out behind him.

“I hope it is one of many memorable moments that he will take away from this Games, and wish him all the very best in his upcoming competition.”

The Paralympic Games official open tonight (September 7) and runs until September 18.