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Brad Ness named Aus Paralympic flag bearer

AAP logoAAP 5/09/2016 Lucy Hughes Jones

Watch out Rio, the Australian Paralympic mob is here, and Brad Ness is leading them.

The men's wheelchair basketball team captain has been chosen as the Australian flag bearer for the Paralympic Games opening ceremony at Brazil's Maracana Stadium on Wednesday night (Thursday morning AEST).

"With this mob behind me I'll be 10 foot tall and bulletproof," Ness told more than 150 of his teammates at the athletes' village.

"We'll let the rest of the world know the mob's arrived and we mean business."

The 41-year-old, who is competing at his fifth Games, was chosen for his advocacy work off the field in addition to his sporting successes, Chef de Mission Kate McLoughlin said.

The gold medallist helped set up the Red Dust Heelers, an indigenous wheelchair basketball program and team in Western Australia.

"And there's a couple of athletes on this team from WA who had their accident and he went to their bedside and said 'look, your life's not over'," McLoughlin said.

"He's more than just an athlete, he's a fantastic ambassador."

Ness lost half his right leg as an 18-year-old in a boating accident.

"The Rollers of the past took me in when I was young and raw," he said.

"They are a massive part of why I'm here today."

Rollers teammate Tige Simmons said although the opening ceremony will be a ten-hour round trip "logistical nightmare" on the eve of their opening match against the Netherlands, he and the boys will be right behind Ness.

"Brad's had my back for the last 14 years, so I'll be there with him," Simmons said.

"He's the true grit and true spirit of this team."

Ness said the 177-strong national team is "without a doubt" the strongest one yet and is sure to reach the goal of a top-five finish on the medal tally.

"Every four years people just get bigger, better, stronger, faster," he said.

"So look out Rio, Australia is here. The mob's here."

WHO IS BRAD NESS?

* Australian men's wheelchair basketball captain

* Made his Paralympic debut as a 25-year-old at the 2000 Sydney Games

* The Rollers have medalled at each Games since and Ness has been a part of every one

* Rio to be his fifth Games

* Lost half his right leg at age 18 in a boating accident

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