Someone asked me how my blog and newspaper column came to be titled "Bleachers Brew". It's like this, it's an amalgam of sorts of two things: The bleachers area in the stadium/arena where I used to sit when I would watch baseball, football, and basketball games and Miles Davis' great jazz album Bitches Brew. That's how it got culled together. I originally planned on calling it "The View from the Big Chair" that is a nod to Tears For Fear's second album, Songs from the Big Chair. So there.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Behind the scenes: Choosing Ian Lariba as RP flag bearer to the 2016 Rio Olympics

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Behind the scenes: Choosing Ian Lariba as RP flag bearer to the 2016 Rio Olympics
by rick olivares

Philippine Olympic Committee President Jose “Peping” Cojuangco looked at his options. POC First Vice President Jose “Joey” Romasanta presented the choices.

The task was to name the flag bearer for the Philippine delegation during the traditional parade of athletes that will be held in the evening of August 5 at the MaracaƱa Stadium in Rio De Janeiro.

Weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz was the flag bearer for the 2012 London Olympics. So she was ruled out. Track athlete Marestella Torres-Sunang had to leave and it was decided that the choice would come down to who was present during the POC’s briefing prior to the delegation’s departure for Brazil. Besides, it was Torres-Sunang’s third Summer Games. Other athletes were represented by their coaches and that invalidated them as a choice.

That left weightlifter Nestor Colonia, taekwondo jin Kirstie Elaine Alora, and table tennis paddler Ian Lariba.

It took the two POC honchos a few minutes to decide. And the decision was unanimous. Of the three, Lariba was the best possible choice. “We’ve had athletes from weightlifting and taekwondo compete before. Table tennis is something new for all of us."

“Let’s put it this way,” explained Romasanta. “First, this is the first time we will send an athlete who will compete in table tennis. We have always wanted to send an athlete to that particular sport and we couldn’t. Second, Ian didn’t make it right away. She went through the loser’s bracket and foguth her way through. She defeated a very good Indonesian paddler to make it. So you know she is tough and talented. Third, she is a Dean’s Lister in La Salle where she is taking up Financial Management (the correct term is Bachelor of Science in Management of Financial Institutions). Mabigat yan! Hindi basta basta. And fourth, she is a student leader. That is what we want in our athletes — well-rounded, intelligent, and can speak very well in public. Nakita mo naman how she handles herself.”

De La Salle University Tournament Coordinator Joy Lanting shared with us Lariba’s accomplishments, “She’s a member of the DLSU Women’s Table Tennis Team and is team captain. She was UAAP Season 74 Rookie of the Year. Most Valuable Player for UAAP Seasons 75, 77, and 78 and is undefeated during her five year UAAP career." 

“I believe we chose the right person,” summed Cojuangco. “She has impressive credentials."

When informed of her being the choice to carry the Philippine flag, Lariba was at a loss for words. “This is a honor and something I will cherish with me forever. To be an Olympic athlete is already one but to also be the flag-bearer, it’s an even more rare honor."


POC President Peping Cojuangco is excited about our medal chances in Rio. Click on this link.

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