Until now, Yanyan Lariba is breaking barriers for La Salle

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Apr 27, 2019 07:01 PM
Until now, Yanyan Lariba is breaking barriers for La Salle
The late Yanyan Lariba continues to be a role model

Back in 2016, Yanyan Lariba made history as the first-ever Filipino table tennis player to compete in the Olympics.

Three years after the fact, the breakthrough remains nothing but impressive - and more than enough for Laroba to deserve her place up there with student-athletes who had their jerseys retired in De La Salle University.

“She went to the Olympics… In a sport that the Philippines is never really good at,” De La Salle University table tennis patron Emmanuel Bocaling said in the ceremonies, Saturday in their Manila campus. “Yanyan broke the barrier. That means it can be done.”

Indeed, the late Lariba was a trailblazer who is a role model for just about everybody.

Now, that is even truer for Lasallian student-athletes not playing the so-called popular sports such as basketball and volleyball.

“Her jersey up there, this means this is no longer just restricted to basketball and volleyball,” Emmanuel Bocaling said. “This also gives a chance to other sports.”

Lariba’s jersey now 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.

More than those four, however, her place up in the rafters is a signal to all student-athletes that they can be immortalized whatever their sport is.

“Kasi, popular lang sa atin is basketball and volleyball so even us in the OSD (Office of Sports Development), we are hoping to open the floodgates for all to realize that there are other sports that are exciting,” school athletic director Nong Calanog said. “In this case, Yanyan was able to probe we can be world-class even in table tennis.”

And so, until now, Lariba shines bright as an inspiration - not only for Lasallians, but for all student-athletes. “Si Yanyan, isang mabuting halimbawa sa mga atleta. She excelled not only in sports, but also in academics,” table tennis coach Lauro Crisostomo said.

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Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.

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