British soldier bears Jamaican flag at Paralympics ceremony

BY PAUL A REID Observer writer

Saturday, August 25, 2012

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LONDON, England — Kevron McKay stood out simply because he was the only one of the six members of the British army of African descent as well as the man carrying the Jamaican flag at yesterday's flag raising ceremony for four countries in the International zone of the Athletes' Village at Olympic Park, Stratford, London.

The 33-year-old former Saints International model and Riverton City resident jumped at the chance to raise the Jamaican flag. "I wanted to represent Jamaica here, without a doubt," he told the Jamaica Observer.

Jamaica's flag as well as those of Thailand, the United Arab Emirates and Uruguay were raised and anthems played in the traditional welcome to the Athletes' Village.

Tony Sainsbury, a senior executive with the Local Organising Committee, delivered the short welcome address in very cool and overcast conditions, saying the Paralympics which were formed in London in 1948 were "coming back home to the country it all started".

He added: "The power of sports can bring people together to inspire lasting peace."

Almost all members of the Jamaican delegation led by chef de mission Suzanne Harris-Henry plus invited guests were in attendance at the flag raising ceremony.

Meanwhile, in an interview with the Observer after the ceremony that lasted just under 30 minutes, McKay, who attended Edith Dalton-James High, said he heard about the chance to join the British army from a friend and jumped at the opportunity, joining up in 2003.

He said having obtained a UK visa to facilitate his modelling career, he travelled to the UK with his then agent Dewight Peters of Saints International when he submitted all the paperwork, passed all the tests and was accepted in the army.

Since then, he said, he has served two terms in Afghanistan and will be heading to Canada soon for specialised training.

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