Lariba is PH flag-bearer in Rio Olympics
IAN “Yanyan” Lariba of table tennis will be waving the Philippine flag in the opening ceremonies of the 31st Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
The UAAP Most Valuable Player from De La Salle was given the honor yesterday over the 11 other Filipinos set to compete in the Brazil meet on Aug. 5 to 21.
“I’m very thankful and, at the same time, humbled that among the list of athletes, I was the one chosen,” said Lariba who is the youngest in the delegation at 21 years old along with golfer Miguel Tabuena.
Lariba and Tabuena also share the same birth date: Oct. 13, 1994.
“It’s a privilege for me to bear the flag in the opening ceremony,” said the pride of Cagayan de Oro during the briefing of Rio-bound Olympians yesterday at the office of the Philippine Olympic Committee.
“But just because I’m the flag-bearer doesn’t mean I’m the forerunner. We’re all equal here. Each one of us has this responsibility of bringing our flag on top,” Lariba added.
Besides walking first in the opening parade, Lariba will also open the medal quest of the Philippines in the elimination round of women’s table tennis singles on Aug. 6.
The Philippine contingent will leave for Rio on July 23.
“She’s very young, and table tennis is one of the most difficult sports to qualify to the Olympics,” said Philippine chief of mission Joey Romasanta, also the first vice president of the POC.
“Most of the best players come from Asia,” added Romasanta. “For her to qualify is such an achievement for all of us.”