Tennis star waving the flag for Liechtenstein

APART from sounding similar, Launceston and Liechtenstein would not appear to have much in common.

For a start, Launceston has twice the population.

But one of Liechtenstein's most famous residents is in town this week, and is happy to wave the flag for her homeland - and is not new to the concept.

Stephanie Vogt is the seventh seed at the Launceston International tennis tournament - a marginally less impressive claim to fame than as the flag bearer for her nation at last year's Olympics.

Vogt, who turns 23 next week, was one of three athletes in her country's Olympic team and said as one had previously carried the flag at Beijing, she drew lots for the honour with swimmer Julia Hassler.

``It was an amazing feeling,'' Vogt said about entering London's Olympic stadium in front of a global audience of billions.

``I was so proud. It was a long time waiting around and then everything went really fast. I was just trying to focus on keeping the flag from getting  wrapped up.''

At just 160 square-kilometres, Liechtenstein is one of the smallest countries in the world and one of only two that is doubly landlocked.

Vogt, who said she can be in Switzerland in three minutes or Austria in 20, modestly said its most famous athlete would be alpine skier Tina Weirather while the country is best known for its prince, low taxes, tool manufacturer Hilti and a character in the Heath Ledger film A Knight's Tale.

As for similarities to Launceston, Vogt said: ``I don't think there are any. I have not seen much of Launceston yet, but this tennis centre is great. We don't even have a hard court.''

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