The Philippines is sending Sendrina Andrea Balatbat to the prestigious US Table Tennis Championship that will start on Dec. 11 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The Bulacan native has replaced Ian Larriba, the Rio Olympics veteran who begged off due to a previous commitment.
Balabat, currently the country's No. 2 player, will be up against the cream of the crop from more than 30 countries.
Table Tennis Association of the Philippines (TATAP) treasurer Ma. Teresa Deniega said Balatbat is in top form.
"She is physically and mentally prepared for this competition. Hopefully, she would live up to expectation," said Deniega, a former national player who finished second in the 2008 edition of the US Table Tennis Championship in Baltimore, Maryland. She is now helping the association headed by Ting Ledesma to promote the sport in the grassroots level.
The TATAP had earlier planned to send nine athletes, including Balatbat and Larriba, to Las Vegas. Also in the lineup were Emy Rose Dael, Rose Jean Fadol, Diane Jamaica Sy, Richard Gonzales and Ryan Rodney Jacoso. However, due to limited budget, only one athlete was chosen.
Balatbat will use the Las Vegas event as a tune-up for the 2017 Southeast Asian Games in Malaysia and 2018 Asian Games in Indonesia.
Source: Philippines News Agency