ATHENS Olympics gold medalist Ryu Seung-min visited Ian Lariba on Monday ahead of the Filipino Olympian’s bone marrow transplant.
Ry, now an International Olympic Committee representative to Korea, was at St. Luke's Medical Center in Bonifacio Global City on Monday to cheer up Lariba, who is battling leukemia.
Lariba's coach, 1999 World Championships silver medalist Mi Sook Kwon also of South Korea, was instrumental in bringing Ryu o the Philippines, according to Philippine Table Tennis Federation president Ting Ledesma.
"Lagi siyang tumatawag sa Korea para humingi ng tulong para makapagbigay ng assistance kay Yanyan. It's a very big help na 'yung coach din namin to contact Korea for the help of Yanyan," said Ledesma.
Ryu also donated boxes of table tennis balls in support of the country's table tennis program, but more important, Ledesma said Ryu's support is a big help in Lariba’s healing process. The La Salle star, who saw action in the Rio Olympics, will undergo bone marrow transplant on Saturday.
Ledesma also said Ryu, in behalf of the South Korea table tennis community, made a donation of around $3,000. He also brought a shirt with messages of support for Lariba from the Korean national table tennis team.
Lariba will not be allowed to receive visitors for days after the bone marrow transplant.
"Hindi na talaga siya pwede bisitahin kahit sino. Hanggang isa o dalawa lang siguro ang puwede niyang kasama," said Ledesma, who added Lariba will be given stem cell treatment.
Ledesma said Lariba was in high spirits especially after the visit. IOC's representative to the Philippines Mikee Cojuangco-Jaworski joined Ryu in visiting Lariba.
"Maganda 'yung aura niya. Maganda ang itsura niya. Kitang kita namin na masaya siya," he said.