Ian Lariba of table tennis will kick off the Philippine campaign in the Rio Olympics when the La Salle standout plunges into action in the preliminaries on Aug. 6.
Lariba earned her Olympic spot after topping a qualifying tournament in Hong Kong last April and is looking forward to her first stint in the quadrennial sportsfest.
“I am hoping that all the hardships during training pays off in Rio,” said Lariba, who will have his last competition before flying to Rio next week when she competes in Singapore.
After Singapore, Lariba and fellow Olympians will fly to Rio on July 23.
Asie from Lariba, also secured of Olympic berths are Kirstie Elaine Alora of taekwondo, Rogen Ladon and Charly Suarez in boxing, hurdler Eric Cray, marathoner Mary Joy Tabal and long jumper Marestella Torres-Sunang of athletics, weightlifter Nestor Colonia and Hidilyn Diaz.
Two golfers – Miguel Tabuena and Angelo Que – are expected to make the cut, while the names of two other swimmers Jasmine Alkhaldi and Jessie Lacuna have also been sent to Rio organisers.
Tabuena (38th) and Que (53rd) are well within the top 60 in the world.
A day after Lariba’s debut, Diaz and Nestor Colonia carry the Philippine flag in the 53 kg and 56 kg classes, respectively.
Hostilities in boxing and swimming will also begin on Aug. 6, the day after the opening ceremonies at the fabled Maracana Stadium.
Alora, competing in the +67 kg, will be on Aug. 20, while men’s golf will reel off Aug. 11.
Meanwhile, Rio Games chief of mission Joey Romasanta has conferred with Philippine Sports Commission chairman Butch Ramirez regarding the proposal to have President Rodrigo Duterte meet Team Philippines at Malacañang.
A target date of July 18 has been proposed by Romasanta, adding that the final composition of the Rio-bound delegation would have been known by then.
Romasanta is keeping his fingers crossed that promising pole vaulter EJ Obiena makes it.