Table tennis standout Ian Lariba of De La Salle University has been selected as the Philippine delegation’s flag bearer in the opening ceremony of the 2016 Olympic Games slated on August 5 to 21 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Lariba, the first Filipino table tennis player to play in the quadrennial Games, was picked by the Philippine Olympic Committee to carry the country’s flag as the 12-athlete Filipino contingent marches in the opening rites at the 78,000-seater Maracana Stadium on August 5.
Joining Lariba are Charly Suarez and Rogen Ladon (boxing), Marestella Torres-Sunang, Eric Shauwn Cray and Mary Joy Tabal (athletics), Miguel Tabuena (golf), Hidilyn Diaz and Nestor Colonia (weightlifting) Kirstie Elaine Alora (taekwondo), and Jasmine Alkhaldi and Jessie Khing Lacuna (swimming).
Lariba, Lacuna and Alkhaldi will jumpstart the country’s campaign in Rio when they compete in the preliminary round on August 6.
“It’s been a dream come true for me and I’m looking forward to that journey. I hope all the hard work during training will pay off in Rio. I’ll just do my best,” said Lariba, who recently won one silver and two bronze medals in the 2016 Asean University Games held in Singapore.
Lariba will be joining the list of previous Philippine flag bearers in the Olympics that include Diaz (2012 in London, England), Manny Pacquiao (2008 in Beijing, China), Christopher Camat (2004 in Athens, Greece), Donald David Geisler (2000 in Sydney, Australia) and Reynaldo Galido (1996 in Atlanta, US).
The team leaves for Rio on Saturday.