This appears on abs-cbnnews.com
A change of opponents for Ian Lariba doesn’t make things any easier
by rick olivares
RIO DE JANEIRO – A few days ago, Philippine table tennis bet Ian Lariba was set to face had set her sights on Adriana Diaz of Puerto Rico because that was the name that was given her the day after she arrived here last July 23.
However, three days before the official opening of the 2016 Rio De Janeiro Olympics (the football competition has already started), Lariba was informed of a change in foes. The 23-year old Lariba will now battle Han Xing of Congo. Xing is a naturalized Chinese and is ranked No. 125 in the world.
The Filipina is ranked No. 297 in the world and is the first table tennis player from the Philippines to compete in the Summer Games.
Both played each other in tune-up matches this past week not knowing they would be taking each other on in the morning of August 6.
Lariba, a native of Cagayan De Oro, said she was not bothered by a sudden change in opponent, adding that she’s ready to take on anybody in the singles event of women’s table tennis in this Rio Olympics. “Whatever the reason for the change, I just have to deal with it. Getting upset about it will not change a thing and will only distract me from what I need to do."
“My new opponent is from Congo and is actually naturalized. She’s Chinese. She’s my sparring partner here because like me, she’s the only entry for table tennis for her country. Small world,” said Lariba. “It’s okay having her as training partner but in the actual match everything will change. Lariba also opined that both athletes will now have a feel for each other after hitting balls and exchanging kills in practice.
Lariba is aware of the difference in their ranking but must have felt better than her having to face somebody ranked No. 80.
“It doesn’t really matter because anywhere you go, you need to slug it out with whoever your opponent is. I will just to my best,” said Lariba.