Olympic silver medalist Hidilyn Diaz became very emotional when she was asked about fellow Olympian Yan Lariba.
Lariba, the country’s flag bearer during the Rio Olympics and the first Filipino table tennis player who qualified for the Games, was recently diagnosed with leukemia and is set to undergo treatment this week.
Diaz, along with rest of the sports community, was saddened by the news and was one of the many who helped ask for blood donations for Lariba.
The weightlifting athlete almost broke into tears when she was asked to give a message for Lariba, whom she became close with during their time in Rio.
“Marami na napatunayan si Yan. Undefeated siya sa table tennis sa UAAP, tapos siya yung first na nakapunta sa Olympics na table tennis (athlete). Nalampasan niya yun, (kaya) alam ko malalampasan niya rin yan,” Diaz said during the press conference of the Hidilyn Diaz Weightlifting Open Championships on Thursday.
Diaz, who is a member of the athlete’s commission, said she made an appeal to the POC to encourage other sectors and sports programs to help solicit money for Lariba.
“Kung kaming lahat ng mga athlete magkaisa at magbuo ng pera para kay Yan, malaking tulong yun.”
Philippine Weightlifting Association president emeritus Monico Puentevella revealed they would donate a certain amount to Lariba to help with her medical bills.
“She’s an Olympian and she has been helpful to us. It’s about time tayo naman ang tumulong,” he said.
Diaz knows her friend will not give up and will continue to be strong in her fight against leukemia. She also hopes they can compete together again in the Olympics.
“Gusto ko makasama siya hanggang sa Tokyo 2020 at maglaro kami dun.”