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PH flag-bearer to go ‘slow’ in Brazil

Lariba told Rio not a place to roam.

Rio Olympics-bound Ian Lariba admits to being the adventurous type, the kind of gal who wouldn’t hesitate to munch on a creepy-crawly or venture into the unknown.

But Lariba, the country’s first entry in the Olympic Games, has come to realize that she has to set aside being a risk-taker when he sets foot in Rio where the world’s best athletes will converge next month.

“It’s always been my dream to tour the world and go to places I have never been,” the 21-year-old La Salle student said on the day she was also named as the Philippines’ flag-carrier during the opening ceremonies of the Aug. 5 to 21 Games.

“I am also an adventurous eater,” said Lariba, laughing but declining the kind of bizarre foods that she has tasted here and overseas.

Before attending a briefing conducted by the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) for all Rio-bound athletes, coaches and officials, Lariba had planned to go around Rio during her spare time to enjoy the sights, smell and sound of Brazil.

“I want to go up and see The Christ The Redeemer,” said Lariba, referring to Rio’s iconic landmark high up in the Corcovado.

But when the POC advised everyone to exercise extreme caution in going out as Rio is regarded as one of the most dangerous places on earth, Lariba decided to review and revise her bucket list.

Besides, Lariba is aware that her main purpose in going to Rio is strictly business, to perform to the best of her abilities as this was the same message relayed by President Rodrigo Duterte when the delegation paid a courtesy call at Malacañang last Monday.

But Lariba maintains that she knows what’s right in store in Rio as she already is on Olympic mode.

To prepare for what Rio has to offer, Lariba made use of her stint at the Asean University Games in Singapore last week in Singapore to sharpen her skills.

Lariba wound up with a runnerup finish in the singles and a bronze each in team play and doubles.

But Lariba believes the atmosphere in Rio will be a whole lot different compared to the tournaments she’d been to.

The lights and the crowd and its reaction will be something she’d never seen and heard.

Still, Lariba is positive that she won’t melt away.

“It’s going to be an overwhelming feeling but I plan to use it as a challenge, something that will make me play better so that when it’s all over I won’t have any regrets.”