Carried aboriginal flag at Olympics to fulfil promise: Freeman

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Mumbai, Jan 13 (PTI) While displaying banners notrecognised by the IOC is banned during the Olympics, forAustralian sprinter Cathy Freeman it was to fulfil a promiseshe made to herself when she carried the aboriginal flag alongwith national flag during victory lap at the Sydney Olympics.

"I had made a very big promise to myself when I was 16.

Whenever I win a gold medal in the CWG, World Championships orin the Olympics I wanted to share my pride (with my community)by showing both the flags," said Freeman, who won the 400mrace in the 2000 Games in 49.11 seconds, to become only thesecond Australian aboriginal Olympic champion.

The aboriginal flag, though recognised by Australia, isnot recognised by the International Olympic Committee.

Aboriginals, have been the original inhabitants of theAustralian continent.

Freeman, event ambassador of the Standard CharteredMumbai Marathon 2011, said she was disappointed that hervictory came in the absence of arch-rival Marie-Jose Perec ofFrance, with whom her face-off had been much anticipated.

"It surely did take some wind out of my sails. It diddeflate me. I thrived on competition all my career. When shewithdrew I was disappointed. But after a break for a moment ortwo I was happy for her," said Freeman, who also lit theOlympic flame during the Sydney Games.

Asked about the highs of her career, Freeman rememberedher performance in 1996 Atlanta Olympics, when she created anAustralian record of 46.63 seconds in the 400m to bag thesilver, while competing against Perec, who won the gold.

"Winning the Olympic medal was special, but winning thegold medal in the World Championship in 1997 and 1999 weregreat too. As a young woman, the experience gave meconfidence, in the run up to the Sydney Olympics," she said.

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