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RP flagbearer Ian Lariba talks about her Rio experience
by rick olivares
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - Twenty-three year old Ian Lariba was the first Fiipino athlete to compete in the 2016 Rio De Janeiro Olympics. Seeing action right away on the very first day of competition, table tennis, in the morning of August 6, Lariba didn’t get beyond the first round, losing to Han Xing of Congo, 4-0.
With her first Olympics over and now back in Manila, the young athlete took time to reflect on her experience that she calls “priceless”.
"I was really very tense at first,” described Lariba of that match versus Han Xing. “I could feel and hear my heart beat really fast. It was a mixture of nervousness and excitement. I feel somewhat satisfied with how I performed more so since it was my first time in an event of that magnitude. But if I could go back to that moment when I played; if I would be given the chance to play that game again, I wish I would have been stronger on overcoming end-game points."
While Lariba was somewhat disappointed at her showing knowing she could do much better, she didn’t dwell too much on the result. "After the game, I immediately went to McDonald's and ate a lot there!” she said with a laugh. “Then soon after, (swimmer) Jessie Lacuna was there as his competition also ended so we jokingly said, “Let’s eat to drown away our sorrows!”
The two and other Philippine Olympians done with their respective events later found the time to go tour around the city. “We went to the very famous Christ the Redeemer and bought some souvenirs,” said Lariba.
Now back in Manila, the young woman will throw all her efforts in finishing her college education at De La Salle University where she is taking up Financial Management. "As of now, I want to finish my course by December, and hopefully graduate next year by Feb. Regarding my table tennis career, I am definitely open to join more international competitions next year and we'll see the opportunities that would come along."
“The Olympics for me will be an irreplaceable moment in my whole life. I may have fell short in my quest for a medal but I definitely gained a lot of life lessons and learnings. The whole experience made me realize that life isn't just about winning nor losing. It's about making the most out of the moment you are at because it may never happen to you again. As long as you are happy with that moment and you've given everything you've got, then all will be worth it. It is about working hard, staying humble, and dreaming big."