Malone chosen as Closing Ceremony flagbearer

7:03 am on 19 September 2016

Rio 2016 Paralympics - The Paralympian Liam Malone has been chosen carry the New Zealand flag into Maracanã Stadium for the Closing Ceremony in Rio.

Auckland runner Liam Malone after his second gold medal win at the Rio Paralympics.

Auckland runner Liam Malone after his second gold medal win at the Rio Paralympics. Photo: AFP

Malone, who won gold medals in the men's 200 and 400 metres T44 and silver in the men's 100 metres T44, was selected by his fellow New Zealand athletes to be the flagbearer.

The team was asked to vote for the Paralympian they believed best represented the collective achievements of the team at the Games and Malone was the overwhelming choice.

The 22-year-old said he was shocked to be chosen.

"I really had no idea I would be chosen and it's a huge honour, I will fly the flag with a huge amount of pride," Malone said.

"I actually nearly cried when the team told me… yes, I had a little tear!

"I have never been to the Maracanã, I had to miss the Opening Ceremony so I am stoked about this."

The New Zealand chef de mission Ben Lucas said the honour was well-deserved by Malone.

"Liam is a truly exceptional young man and seeing him chosen as flag bearer for the Closing Ceremony is a very proud moment for me as a New Zealander," he said.

"The Paralympic Games is always a very unique environment... Even seasoned campaigners can find the environment a challenge, especially in your Village home where you put together a team of athletes that sometimes don't know each other well and are different ages, backgrounds and sports.

"But Liam very much took the whole experience in his stride, so much so it's hard to remember he is actually debuting in Rio."

There is one day left of competition at the Paralympics but New Zealand has now finished its campaign, with the team winning a total of 21 medals - three more than their target - with nine gold, five silver and seven bronze.

The team has also met its ambition to retain the title of number one in the world for medals per capita.

Despite not reaching its target of 12 gold, by winning a total of nine the Rio Paralympics are now equal to the 1996 Atlanta Paralympics as the most successful Games in New Zealand history.