By Paul Osborne at the Nanjing Olympic Sports Centre

Paul de Souza will carry the flag for the Bahamas in this evening's Opening Ceremony ©ISAFBahamian sailor Paul de Souza will carry his country's flag in this the Opening Ceremony for the Summer Youth Olympic Games here tnight in honour of the 50th anniversary of Sir Durward Knowles taking the nation's first ever Olympic gold.

The 15-year-old will lead out a 14-strong Bahamas team at the Ceremony, due to start at 8pm local time. 

"I'm very excited because I'm the flag bearer from the Bahamas because it's the 50th anniversary since Sir Durward Knowles won a gold medal in the Star class so they decided to pick me as the flag carrier just to honour that," said de Souza.

"I couldn't be any happier about it.

"I'm almost speechless and I'm really proud of myself and my country that we all made it to this event.

"We're all from a small country and there are so many people here who come from countries with millions and we're a country of thousands.

"I'm pretty proud to be able to carry the flag and represent my country.

"He's a Bahamian hero to a lot of people because he was our first gold medallist ever and a lot of people look up to him.

"A lot of buildings have been named after him and he's pretty important in our culture."

Sir Durward Knowles won gold in the Star sailing class at the 1964 Olympic Games in Tokyo ©Bride Lane Library/Popperfoto/Getty ImagesSir Durward Knowles won gold in the Star sailing class at the 1964 Olympic Games in Tokyo ©Bride Lane Library/Popperfoto/Getty Images

Sir Durward secured the Bahamas first ever Olympic medal with bronze alongside Sloan Farrington in the star event at the 1956 Melbourne Olympic Games.

Eight years later, Sir Durward and Cecil Cooke won the Bahamas first Olympic gold medal with victory in the same event at Toyko 1964.

Sir Durward and Cooke will be honoured on the anniversary of their victory by a lunch where the International Olympic Committee will present Sir Durward with the prestigious President's Trophy, the highest honour given to athletes by the IOC.

Sandra Cooke, daughter of Cecil Cooke, will receive the trophy on behalf of her late father.

Representatives from the IOC, International Sailing Federation, Japanese Olympic Committee and the Commonwealth Games Federation are expected to attend.

In advance of de Souza heading to Nanjing for the Youth Olympic Games, Sir Durward gave him a few encouraging words.

"A lot of times I am very modest and he said I need to be a little bit more confident in what I do and he said go out there and try your best," de Souza explained.

The Bahamas had to wait another 48 years before Frank Rutherford secured their third Olympic medal, a bronze in the triple jump event at Barcelona 1992.

The country has gone on to win five gold, two silver and five bronze medals overall at the Olympics, their biggest medal haul coming at the Sydney 2000 where they won two golds and one bronze.

Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]