Italian opposite Paola Egonu is arguably one of the biggest stars in the sport today, but being chosen as one of the Olympic flag bearers for the Tokyo 2020 Opening Ceremony is a big and rare addition to a long list of accolades in her young career.

“It was an emotional moment and I really had fun,” Egonu said.

“Carrying the Olympic flag is something that happens once in your life. I am delighted that I was able to make people feel how I felt that day – with a lot of love and happiness.”

After seeing action five years ago at the Olympic Games in Rio, Egonu hopes to experience greater moments in Tokyo.

“I would like my proudest moments here at Tokyo 2020 to be fun, as we give our everything at 100 per cent and work hard for our dream.”

The 22-year-old took the first step towards that goal as she led Italy to its first victory with an 18-point performance against ROC in the women’s volleyball opening match.

And when asked about her expectations in the competition, she said:

“I want to experience all the good things.”