PSC comes to Lariba’s aid
The Philippine Sports Commission has come to the rescue while the global table tennis community readily showed its support for Rio de Janeiro Olympian Ian Lariba.
Without making it public, PSC chair Butch Ramirez said the sports agency immediately got in touch with De La Salle University for a collaborative effort on how to financially help Lariba in her fight against leukemia.
“To be honest, we don’t want to announce it. We promise to take good care of her because she plays for the country,’’ said PSC chair Butch Ramirez.
Lariba, a two-time UAAP Athlete of the Year before finishing her BS Management of Financial Institutions degree at La Salle, will undergo treatment this week after being diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia.
The Inquirer found that the PSC initially shelled out P300,000 to foot the medical expenses of the Lariba, the first Filipino paddler who made it to the quadrennial Olympics.
Aside from Lariba, the PSC has also reached out to former Olympic bronze medalist Leopoldo Serrantes of boxing and legendary female sprinter Mona Sulaiman, who both suffered life-threatening illnesses.
“If we want to win medals in the Olympics, we should not overlook the situation of our athletes,’’ said Ramirez.
Several world-ranked players also expressed their support for the 22-year-old Lariba at the ongoing 2017 World Table Tennis Championship in Dusseldorf, Germany.
World No. 2 Fan Zhendong and the third-ranked Xu Xin of China provided inspiration for Lariba in a video message where Romania’s Elizabeta Samara and Petrissa Solja of Germany also aired words of encouragement.
The video, which ended with the message “Table Tennis Family stands behind Ian Lariba,’’ can be seen on the Facebook account of the International Table Tennis Federation.