Late Olympian Yanyan Lariba immortalized with jersey up in La Salle rafters

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Apr 27, 2019 04:07 PM
Late Lariba immortalized with jersey up in La Salle rafters
Yanyan Lariba has joined Kurt Bachman, Lim Eng Beng, Renren Ritualo, and Illa Santos up in the La Salle gym rafters

Yanyan Lariba, the first-ever Filipino table tennis player to compete in the Olympics, will always serve as an inspiration to De La Salle University.

That will now be even truer for Lasallian student-athletes as Lariba’s jersey was hung in the school gym’s rafters, Saturday in their Manila campus.

“Her determination and perseverance are worth emulating for all Lasallian athletes - as well as all Lasallians,” university chancellor Bro. Bernie Oca, FSC said. “That’s why this afternoon, we will make a concrete manifestation of how much we love Yanyan.”

Lariba went undefeated through her five-year career in the UAAP. She was the league’s Athlete of the Year in Seasons 77 and 78 as well as table tennis MVP in Seasons 75, 77, and 78.

She also made history in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 2016 by being the first-ever Filipino to play table tennis in the Olympics.

In 2017, she was diagnosed with acute myeloid lukemia (AML).

In September of the following year, she succumbed to the illness. She was 23.

Still, the fight she put forward, be it in the UAAP or the Olympics or be it the trials of being a student-athlete or the hardships of AML, is nothing but an inspiration for just about eveybody.

“Medals and trophies may get tarnished, but a champion lives on,” Oca said.

Now, Lariba’s jersey hangs alongside the best student-athletes La Salle has produced in basketball’s Kurt Bachmann, Lim Eng Beng, and Renren Ritualo and volleyball’s Illa Santos.

“For as long as there is De La Salle University, Yanyan will be remembered,” Oca said.

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Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.

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