Lariba to kick off PH bid in Rio Olympics
Ian Lariba of table tennis will open the medal quest of the Philippines in the Rio De Janeiro Olympics.
The UAAP MVP from La Salle is scheduled to play in the elimination round on Aug. 6, immediately a day after the kick-off ceremonies of the world’s biggest sports event.
“I hope all the sacrifices and hardships during training will pay off in Rio,’’ said Lariba, who earned the trip to Rio after making the cut in a qualifying tournament in Hong Kong three months ago.
Lariba will fly to Rio along with the other Filipino Olympians on July 23 right after participating in a high-level meet in Singapore starting next week.
Joining Lariba in the Aug. 5-21 global quadrennial Games are Hidilyn Diaz and Nestor Colonia of weightlifting, boxers Rogen Ladon and Charly Suarez, hurdler Eric Cray, long jumper Marestella Torres-Sunang and marathoner Mary Joy Tabal of athletics and taekwondo’s Kirstie Elaine Alora.
Swimming and boxing will also start on Aug. 6 before lifters Diaz (53kg) and Colonia (56kg) take centerstage the day after.
Also expected to qualify are golfers Miguel Tabuena and Angelo Que, who are ranked 38th and 53rd in the
world and well within the top 60 set to be named by the International Golf Federation next week.
Swimmers Jasmine Alkhaldi and Jessie Khing Lacuna are also in contention for spots in the Olympics as well as pole vaulter EJ Obiena.
Entered in the women’s +67kg, Alora kicks her way to a medal on Aug. 20 after men’s golf on Aug. 11.
Chef de mission Joey Romasanta has been working with Philippine Sports Commission chair William Ramirez on the possible meeting of Rio-bound Filipino athletes with President Rodrigo Duterte in Malacanang.
Romasanta has proposed July 18 as the target date when the composition of the Philippine delegation has already been finalized.
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