By Tom Degun

Abdelhafid Benchabla_18_JulyJuly 18 - Algeria's Abdelhafid Benchabla has been named as his nation's flag-bearer for the London 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony meaning that he will become the first boxer from the country to receive the honour at the Games.

The 25-year-old light heavyweight (pictured top, in blue) from Zemmouri narrowly missed out on a medal at the Beijing 2008 Olympics after being eliminated in the last eight but he truly made a name for himself in the World Series of Boxing (WSB) fighting for the Kazakhstan-based franchise Astana Arlans.

In the first season of the WSB from 2010-2011, Benchabla made history as he became the competition's first ever light heavyweight champion in a feat that earned him one of the first qualification spots for London 2012, where the boxing competition will take place at the ExCeL in London's Docklands.

Benchabla, who also won gold at light heavyweight at the 2011 All-Africa Games in Mozambique, has since become a huge star in his home country and admitted he was delighted to learn that the Algerian Olympic Committee had named him as the man to lead out his nation's delegation at London 2012 at the Olympic Stadium on July 27.

"This appointment encourages me to pay tribute to my country by boxing all the way to a podium finish at the Olympic Games," he said.

"It is important to note that these Games also coincide with a historic moment for our country, the celebration of the 50th anniversary of independence.

Abdelhafid Benchabla_2_18_JulyAbdelhafid Benchabla (right) will carry the Algerian flag

"Having the opportunity of carrying the flag and representing all the Algerian athletes in London is a true honour, be assured that I will be a worthy defender of these colours which will adorn London's skies during the Games."

Azzedine Aggoune, the Algerian national team boxing head coach, paid tribute to Benchabla.

"It is clear that Benchabla's appointment as the flag-bearer of the Algerian delegation at the Olympic Games is a historic moment for Algerian boxing," he said.

"It is a great honour.

"The members of the Algerian Olympic Committee who made this decision wanted to show their appreciation and gratitude to boxing.

"Let us remember that in 2011, Benchabla won the All-Africa Games, the WSB Individual Championships, and became the first African and Arab boxer to secure the Olympic quota.

"Benchabla's achievement and success was then followed by our other talented boxers as Algeria bagged six further places at the AIBA African Olympic qualifying event in Casablanca."

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