Olympian Ian Lariba dies at 23

Delfin Dioquino
Olympian Ian Lariba dies at 23

Josh Albelda/RAPPLER

The first Filipina table tennis player to qualify for the Olympics was diagnosed with leukemia in May 2017

MANILA, Philippines – Olympian and Filipino table tennis star Ian Lariba died late Sunday night, September 2, following a year-long battle with acute myeloid leukemia. She was 23. 

The Philippine Sports Commission confirmed the news on its Twitter account and offered its condolences for Lariba’s family. 


Lariba had a storied table tennis career locally and internationally. 

She was the first Filipina table tennis player to qualify for the Olympics, seeing action in the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. She also carried the Philippine flag in the opening ceremonies as the country’s flag-bearer. 

In her 5-year UAAP career, Lariba went undefeated for De La Salle University and won 3 Most Valuable Player awards. She led the Lady Paddlers to 3 UAAP titles. 


However, her table tennis career was derailed in May 2017 when it was revealed she was diagnosed with leukemia

Lariba underwent head surgery last January and was admitted at the St Luke’s Medical Center-Global City in August after her leukemia relapsed. Rappler.com 

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Delfin Dioquino

Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.