The Philippines will once again join the 28th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games wherein they will be tested against the other countries in Asia in different sporting events. The Table Tennis team of the Philippines features Ian Lariba, who shared her background, training and aim to win a coveted spot and put the name of the country in the field of the sport.
“Yanyan”, as what most of her friends call her, had her international experience representing the Philippines in the Sport. Aside from joining the 2013 SEA Games, she participated in the 2014 ASEAN University Games in Palembang, Indonesia where she landed a bronze-place finish in the Women’s Singles category. Days before the Southeast Asian Games, she also joined the GAC Group in the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) World Tour hosted by the Philippines itself held at Subic.
Despite joining these competitions and her mother league the UAAP, Lariba explains the added challenge in this SEA Games tournament saying “In SEA Games, there is more pressure since it is one of the major competitions that the team prepare for. There is more weight to it.”
Furthermore, she looks forward in the possibility of facing the familiar faces who will also be joining this prestigious tournament. The level of competition also features the top-ranked ping pong players in Southeast Asia in which Lariba has already met and seeks to carry the name of the country against them.
“There will be a lot of world-ranked players in country (Singapore). Feng Tian Wei from Singapore is within the top 10 and Isabelle Li is also a silver medalist back in 2013. Thailand’s Tamowlan is also an olympic youth medalist.” Lariba shares.
Two years ago, the Philippines only ended up with one bronze medal from the Men’s Division in the singles tournament. This time around, Lariba seeks to add the number of medals the country will end up with.
For the two-time UAAP Athlete of the year, the goal is simple: that is to win the elusive medal the Philippines has been longing for quite some time now. And while she aims to bag at least a podium finish, she has been training while also balancing her studies as a finance student in De La Salle University.
While the rigorous training schedule is mixed in with a routine class schedule in the university, Lariba continues to be an epitome of the top student-athletes in the country. She shares “For me, I really want to aim for a medal since it’s almost been two decades that the Philippines hasn’t won a medal in the women’s division. We’ve been training everyday 9-12nn at the Rizal Memorial then Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, 6-9pm at DLSU.”
For Lariba, the SEA Games tournament is the pinnacle of all the challenges she will be facing and she’s ready to face the daunting yet prestigious task of representing the Philippines. By all means, she vows to do her best in playing the sport that she is known for.
“Of course it’s a privilege and a great blessing but at the same time, a challenge because you will not just play for yourself but you’ll play something bigger for yourself; La Salle, Philippines, and most especially God.”
For the 28th SEA Games, there will be seven events in the Table Tennis games that will feature Singles (Men’s and Women’s), Doubles (Men’s, Women’s and Mixed) and Team (Men’s and Women’s)
All games will be played on Singapore Indoor Stadium in Singapore that will be played by 67 athletes from nine competing countries. Lariba will be joined by Richard Gonzales, Rodney Jacolo, Sendrina Balatbat, and Rodel Valle to represent the Philippines.