DLSU’s Lariba becomes 1st Filipino table tennis Olympian
Ian Lariba has made a name for herself as the first ever table tennis Olympian from the Philippines.
The UAAP’s best table netter punched a ticket in this year’s Olympics in Rio De Janeiro after defeating Lilis Indriani of Indonesia, 11-6, 11-2, 11-8, 11-5, in the women’s singles of the 2016 ITTF-Asian Olympic Qualification Tournament in Hong Kong on Saturday night.
By securing the 11th and last Olympic spot in her event, Lariba joined boxers Rogen Ladon and Charly Suarez, Eric Cray of track and field, and taekwondo’s Kirstie Elaine Alora in the Rio Games on Aug. 5-21.
At the start of the competition, the outlook for the Season 78 UAAP MVP from La Salle wasn’t promising.
Lariba fell to Thailand’s Orawan Paranang, 11-6, 11-2, 11-4, 13-11, in Stage 1 of the Southeast Asia bracket, pulling her down in Draw D in Stage 2 of the tournament.
But instead of losing heart, Lariba fought back from the pits and toppled Qatar’s Maha Faramarzi, 11-5, 11-1, 11-7, 11-4, at the start of the classification phase.
She continued the surge with another victory over Iran’s Mahjobeh Omran, 11-6, 15-13, 11-8, 7-11, 10-12, 11-8 before Thailand’s Nanthana Komwong prevented her from snaring an Olympic berth outright in their Draw D finale.
Lariba, who led La Salle to the Season 78 UAAP crown, summoned enough courage in her make-or-break face-off with Indriani and swept the best-of-seven match for the ticket to Rio.
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