-In the Opening Ceremony of the Summer Olympic games in Rio de Janeiro, table tennis athlete Ian Lariba led the way as she was the flag-bearer for the entire Philippine delegation
-Lariba will be the first athlete to compete for the Philippines in this Olympics, followed by swimmer Jessie Lacuna, and boxer Charly Suarez
-Team Philippines is represented by a very solid lineup of athletes for this year's Olympics
MANILA, Philippines- Ian Lariba, the first athlete from the Philippines to compete in Rio de Janerio, bear the flag as she led Team Philippine's campaign in the 2016 Summer Games last Saturday.
Ian Lariba is a table tennis player who ranked No. 297 in the world. She will be going up against Han Xing of Congo, who is currently ranked 125th. Lariba is playing as the underdog in this matchup that will be held at the Riocentro Convention Center on Saturday morning (evening in Manila).
Lariba played and starred for the De La Salle University in the UAAP. Being the underdog in this matchup, all she will be capitalizing on is her familiarity with Xing's game since they were hitting partners in Rio in the past week.
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Lariba said that due to constant practicing against each other, they have gotten used to each other's game. Despite that, the tennis player said that it will all change during the actual match.
While carrying the flag during the Opening Ceremony, Lariba made sure that she would not strain her left hand. Later on, she followed her group's advice to pass it on as the delegation marched away from the spotlight.
When interviewed, Lariba confessed that the flag was quite heavy.
"I gave it more effort with my right hand. We thought there would be a harness, but there was none. You have to carry the weight all the way through", Lariba added.
Kirstie Alora, part of Team Philippines' Taekwondo team, was the one who carried the flag for the rest of the duration. Alora is not set to play until August 20.
After Lariba's match to start off the Philippines' Olympic campaign in the morning, it will be Jessie Khing Lacuna of the swimming team, who will be seeing action at noontime in the 400m freestyle at the Olympic Aquatic Center.
Lacuna says that he is more mentally prepared now as oppose to the Olympic games in London, where he admits to having gotten too excited.
After which, Charly Suarez (boxing) will then be facing Great Britain's Joseph Corinda in the ring for the preliminary rounds of the lightweight division.
Suarez' coach Boy Velasco believes that Suarez may beat Cordina if he is able to establish his distance. He believes that Charly is stronger than him.