First batch of PH delegates arrive in Rio
Six of the 12 athletes part of the Philippine delegation made it safe and sound to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on Sunday (Manila time) after a gruelling 25-hour journey from Manila.
Aiming to end the country’s Olympic medal drought, flag-bearer Ian Lariba of table tennis led the first batch together with taekwondo jin Elaine Alora, swimmer Jessie Khing Lacuna, long jumper Marestella Torres-Sunang and weightlifters Hidilyn Diaz and Nestor Colonia.
From Manila, the delegation had an eight-hour flight to Dubai for a three-hour layover before embarking on a 14-hour trip to Brazil with the hopes of an entire nation rested upon their shoulders.
Diaz and Torres-Sunang are in their third Olympic stint, while Lacuna is gunning for a better finish after debuting in the 2012 London Olympics.
Chef-de-mission Jose Romasanta, fellow Philippine Olympic Committee official Col. Jeff Tamayo, team physician Dr. Ferninand Brawner, and former SEA Games taekwondo king Kitoy Cruz were also part of the delegation.
Upon arrival at the airport, the Filipinos met with fellow delegates from Malaysia, Hong Kong and Uganda and took a one-hour bus ride to the Athletes Village where the competitors will reside for the duration of the Games.
The remaining Filipino Olympians are expected to arrive in the next few days.
Boxers Rogen Ladon and Charly Suarez are still training in the United States, runner Eric Cray is in Houston, swimmer Jasmine Alkhaldi will be coming from Hawaii, marathoner Mary Joy Tabal is still in Japan while golfer Miguel Tabuena is currently competing in the King’s Cup in Thailand this week.