Jann Mari Nayre will open the Philippine campaign in the 2018 Youth Olympic Games, late on Sunday at the Table Tennis Arena of the Technopolis in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
The 18-year-old takes on Nicolas Ignacio Burgos of Chile in Group B of the men’s singles preliminary stage, before facing Maciej Kolodziejczyk of Austria six hours later.
The first Filipino table tennis player to secure a spot in these Games featuring the best 18-under athletes in the world, Nayre will wrap up the elimination round against Khanak Jha of the United States the following day, in the hopes of advancing to the round of 16 on Tuesday.
“I’m here to give my best, regardless of whom I’m facing,” said Nayre, who won gold in the ASEAN School Games.
He made the trip to this Argentinian capital after winning the Rarotonga qualifiers in the Cook Islands in June, following his failure to medal in the recent Asian Games in Indonesia and the 2017 Southeast Asian Games in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Argentina president Mauricio Macri declared the beginning of the YOG during the opening ceremony at the Obelisco de Buenos Aires, where over 4,000 athletes from 206 countries are set to compete in 32 sports for the next 13 days.
International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach graced the welcoming rites that featured an impressive display of lights and fireworks.
“You gave your best and this is why you are here,” Bach told the athletes.
“Every athlete is different. We all come from different parts of the world but we are united through sports,” added the 1976 Montreal Olympics gold medalist in fencing.
Golfer Yuka Saso, the country’s Asian Games double-gold medalist, carried the flag during the parade of nations as the third edition of the YOG unfolded in full view of the Argentinian public, the first time in Olympic history that the opening ceremony was held on the streets.
Filipino-Norwegian Christian Tio is set to kick off his medal bid in kiteboarding, a new discipline under sailing in the youth Olympics on October 8 (Tuesday in Manila), while fencer Lawrence Everett Tan will begin his campaign in the men’s foil event the following day.
Saso and fellow golfer Carl Jano Corpus are due to see action on October 9 at the Hurlingham Club in the women and men’s individual stroke play events that will run for three days.
On the same day, Nicole Oliva will swim in the heats of the women’s 100-meter freestyle, one of the four events that the Sta. Clara, California-based swimmer will compete in. The 18-year-old has decided to pull out from the backstroke and butterfly races.
Capping the Filipinos’ campaign is archer Nicole Tagle, who will shoot for medals in the women’s recurve individual event and mixed international play, the event where Gab Moreno captured the country’s first gold medal when he paired with China’s Li Jiaman during the 2014 edition in Nanjing, China.