Why Alora took over as PH flag bearer for Lariba during Rio opening
MANILA, Philippines - Some may have noticed that it was table tennis paddler Ian Lariba who waved the nation's flag as the Philippine contingent to the 2016 Rio Olympics entered the Maracaña Stadium during the Parade of Nations on Friday, August 5 (August 6 Manila time).
However, once the Philippine contingent passed the VIP Grandstand, the flag changed hands to Lariba’s fellow first-time Olympian, taekwondo jin Kirstie Elaine Alora.
The switch was planned as early as the athletes’ briefing last July 20 at the offices of the Philippine Olympic Committee. Said POC First Vice President and chef-de-mission to Rio Jose Romasanta, “Ian will be competing first thing the following day (August 6) and we didn’t want her to get tired from all the waving of the flag that is a little heavy. So we asked Elaine (Alora) to carry the flag after a certain point during the entrance.”
“It was debated at one point if Lariba should instead rest and not march however, it prevailed that she march and be given the honor of carrying the nation’s colors in this once-in-a-rare-lifetime experience.”
“I have no problems with the switch,” said Lariba in an interview with Rappler a few days before the Opening Ceremony. “They only have my best interests. And besides, it’s a win-win situation for me and Elaine.”
Lariba is scheduled to play at 9 am on August 6 (8 pm Manila time) when she goes up against Han Xing of Congo in the Women’s Table Tennis Preliminary Round.
Alora doesn’t compete until August 20th. – Rappler.com