POC working double time for Sanchez eligibility for Asiad
The Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) is exhausting all avenues to speed up the eligibility of Olympian Kayla Sanchez so she can represent the country in the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou, China and ultimately, a stint in the 2024 Paris Olympics.
POC President Bambol Tolentino said they are reviewing all the documents to be submitted to the governing body after Sanchez agreed to represent the Philippines instead of Canada in future tournaments.
“Titingnan natin kung nasaang stage na, kung pwedeng mapabilis pa para makapag-compete na siya sa Asian Games,” Tolentino said.
Tolentino added they had already included Sanchez in the entry by name in case the 22-year-old would be finally given the green light to don the country’s colors.
“Madali lang namang magtanggal sa listahan. Ang mahirap, yung magdagdag. So we’re just making sure that if ever she’s okay to compete in the Asian Games, hindi na tayo mahihirapang idagdag ang pangalan niya,” Tolentino said.
Born to Filipino parents who trace their roots from Mabalacat, Pampanga and Baguio City, Sanchez won silver in the 4×100-meter freestyle and bronze in the 4x100m medley relay for Canada in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
She is currently entering her second of her three-year residency for the 2024 Olympics this year after switching to compete for the Philippines, but the POC said it would do its best to shorten it with the help of the World Aquatics and the International Olympic Committee.
“We’re doing everything we can to make it happen,” Tolentino said.
Only one swimmer won in the Olympics for Team Philippines, and that was Teofilo Yldefonso, who won the men’s 200m breaststroke bronze both in the 1928 Amsterdam and 1932 Los Angeles editions.
Sanchez could easily give an Asian Games medal for Team PH as far as previous edition performances are concerned. Her personal best of 53.12 seconds in the 100m freestyle is better than the Asian Games record of 2018 gold medalist Rikako Ikee of Japan (53.27sec).
It was also slightly slower than the bronze-medal time of Australia’s Cate Campbell in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.