By David Gold at the Main Press Centre on the Olympic Park in London

Mateja Pintar_29_AugustAugust 29 – Slovenian table tennis star Mateja Pintar has spoken of her pride at carrying her country's flag during the Paralympic Games Opening Ceremony.

Pintar (pictured) is competing at her third Games, having claimed gold at Athens 2004 and bronze in Beijing four years ago.

"I'm very proud to have been selected as flag-bearer for Slovenia," she said.

"I've been to two Paralympics so I know that the Opening Ceremony is an amazing event that you can't experience anywhere else, so to lead your team hopefully into a good competition is very important to me and I'm very, very excited."

Pintar has suffered with injuries over the last three years, which have dented her hopes of adding to her medal collection this summer, but is determined to do everything she can to achieve success.

"I haven't competed at all this whole season which means that my expectations and goals can't be as high as they were for the other two Games.

"Still, after being so successful for so many years I want to do my very best here.

"The competition only happens once in four years so I still feel the Paralympic spirit and I know how to appreciate it better."

Pintar –  one of 22 athletes competing at London 2012 for Slovenia – is celebrating her involvement in London by sporting a green and blue-streaked hairstyle to match the Slovenian team tracksuit.

She says it is a tradition for her to change hair colour for major competitions, and is in part to bring her luck.

Although the country has participated at the Paralympics since 1992, this year represents the 40th anniversary of the first appearance of Slovenian athletes at the Games after competing in 1972 under the Yugoslavian flag.

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