By Jan Dolalas
Last Sunday night, the world of Philippine sports lost a strong athlete—Ian Lariba, first Filipina Olympian table tennis athlete, passed away after battling leukemia at the age of 23; and today we remember her victories.
Ian Lariba, known to her close family and friends as “Yanyan” showed passion for the sport at such a young age, one that eventually led her to becoming a varsity player for De LaSalle University- Manila.
Yanyan, a Rookie of the Year medalist, a 3-time MVP, and crowned UAAP Athlete of the Season for two consecutive years, clearly brought home the bacon, during her playing years in the UAAP, making the entire La Salle community and her family in Cagayan de Oro proud of the student athlete.
Because of her prowess in her sport, she represented the country in several international arenas, but the peak of her career didn’t happen until the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. It was against Indonesia’s Indriani, in a do-or-die, where she swept the best-of-seven match, making her the first Filipino table tennis champ in the Olympics since the sport was included in 1988.
Overall, Yanyan has made herself one of DLSU and UAAP’s greatest players, not only for being an excellent role model for Filipino athletes but also showing resilience in the face of any battle.
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Banner Photography from DLSU Sports