IAN Lariba has been chosen as flag bearer for the Philippine delegation in the opening ceremony of the Rio De Janeiro Olympics.
The Philippine Olympic Committee made the announcement on Tuesday.
Filipino athletes leave for Rio on Saturday.
Lariba is the first Filipino table tennis player to make it to the Olympics.
Lariba joins a list that includes Manny Pacquiao, who carried the flag in the 2008 Beijing Olympics although he was not a participating athlete in the Games.
London Olympics flag bearer Hidilyn Diaz of weightlifting is also one of the 12 Filipino athletes seeing action in Rio.
“Na-surprise ako kasi sa list po ng athletes, I was given this honor and privilege. But at the same time, I’m very humbled kasi it’s a rare experience and a rare moment na maging flag bearer of the Philippines and for the Olympics pa. It’s really a blessing,” said Lariba.
“I’m really thankful also to Sir Joey Romasanta and Sir Peping Cojuangco na they are giving me this chance not only for me but for the table tennis community in the Philippines to grow,” she said.
Lariba will carry the flag a day before she sees action, but the UAAP Season 78 co-Athlete of the Year said there is no cause for concern.
“We’ve discussed it already with our coach and she is very understanding because it’s a once in a lifetime. It’s not just for me but for all the Filipino and the table tennis community,” said Lariba.
“May mga ginagawa naman kaming exercises for that kaya sanay na kami sa weights,” she added.