Ono, 12, rules Bato Cup Battle of Champs
Filipino-Japanese Rizumu Ono cemented her status as one of the country’s top junior table netters after winning the women’s title of a high-caliber tournament recently.
Her amazing triumph in the 1st Bato Cup Battle of Champions & National Invitational Table Tennis Championships has installed the 12-year-old prodigy as a solid medal bet in the 2018 Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires.
Ono, daughter of former national team player Sally Lozares-Ono from Cebu, didn’t surrender a set in all of her games, capped by a 12-10, 11-6, 11-8 victory over the seasoned Arlene Borja.
“Rizumu is a strong contender in the Youth Olympics and she’s only 12,” said Table Tennis Association of the Philippines chair Jay Omila, who took Ono under his wings in the Omila Sports Academy.
They believe that Ono can make it to the Summer Olympics in Tokyo 2020 as well.
Ono showed her potential in the World Table Tennis Championship in Germany this year.
Standing below five feet, Ono nearly defeated six-time Olympian Olufunke Oshonaike of Nigeria before losing to the African champion in six sets.
Projected to follow the footsteps of Rio de Janeiro Olympian Ian Lariba, Ono was cut from the final lineup of the national team in the Kuala Lumpur Southeast Asian Games.
Ono bested Danica Alburo in the round-of-eight, 12-10, 11-4, 11-7, before setting up the finale opposite Borja with an 11-8, 11-6, 11-6 win over Crisanta Abas.