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After Rio, Ian eyes KL SEAG

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Olympian table tennis player Ian Lariba vows to get back in shape after a three-month break when she sets her sights on the 2017 Southeast Asian Games in Kuala Lumpur.

Lariba said her main goal this year is to get a medal not only in the women’s singles but also in the team event.

“Hopefully this time we can achieve our goals to win more medals,” said the 22-year-old Cagayan de Oro native, who brought the sport into the country’s spotlight after qualifying and competing at the 2016 Rio Games last August.

Lariba said coaches and players have yet to discuss their strategy for this year as they seek to eclipse their best finish in the biennial meet.

No Filipino has so far won a gold medal in the SEAG with Richard Gonzales’ bagging silver in the men’s singles at the 2015 Singapore edition.

Although the SEAG is a regional competition, Lariba said most world champions and Olympians come from Southeast Asia.

“Kaya tight talaga yung competition. Sobrang taas ng level kasi yung magagaling sa mundo, nasa SEAG,” Lariba said, referring to rivals from Thailand, Singapore and Vietnam.

Lariba and the rest of the team return to training next week, with Lariba getting more time for training after finishing her studies in La Salle.

“Requirements na lang yung inaayos ko sa school, so mas maluwag ngayon. After ng Olympics kasi, humingi ako ng break para na rin makapagpahinga at makapag-concentrate sa school,” said Lariba, set to graduate in February with a degree of Management and Finance.

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