MANILA, Philippines - The country’s No. 1 Richard Gonzales and Ian Lariba made it to the World Table Tennis Championship set April 28-May 5 in Tokyo after their impressive performance in the recent Southeast Asian Games in Myanmar last December.
Table Tennis Association of the Philippines (TATAP) president Ting Ledesma said the 42-year-old Gonzales earned the slot on the strength of his bronze medal finish in the Myanmar SEA Games despite playing with a sprained ankle in the men’s singles class.
“It’s really a great pleasure to represent the country in a world tournament like the world championship,” said Gonzalez. “I always train hard and give my best everytime. I don’t want to expect anything but I will go there to win.”
Ledesma said only Gonzales and Lariba are qualified so far while other players will still be evaluated by the coaches since the world championship is considered the stiffest competition.
“Richard and Yan-yan so far are the best players in the country,” said Ledesma. “The coaches have recommended them and I think they have the capability to compete there.”
Gonzales, an Armyman, also encouraged young athletes to strive hard and give their best performance in different overseas competitions while in the peak of their career for the sake of Filipino pride.
“Our young promising athletes have the potential to win gold medals for our country if they pursue greatness by training hard and listening to the advice of their coaches,” said Gonzales, the 2005 SEA Games men’s singles silver medalist.