Sanchez gets clearance to suit up for PH internationally and chance to medal in Olympics – rezal404

Kayla Sanchez, here working out in the pool at PhilSports last year, finally gets her much-awaited World Aquatics clearance.  —PHOTOS BY JUNE NAVARRO, PSI

Kayla Sanchez, here working out in the pool at PhilSports last year, finally gets her much-awaited World Aquatics clearance. —PHOTOS BY JUNE NAVARRO, PSI

Now that the biggest stumbling block has been taken out, two-time Olympic medalist Kayla Sanchez in a national team swimsuit, looks every inch as the rebirth of Philippine swimming.

The 22-year-old Sanchez, whose change of nationality from Canada to the Philippines was recently approved by World Aquatics, is a medal machine based on her clockings, and she can start proving that in the coming 19th Asian Games (Asiad) where she is a surefire contender for gold medals in at least three events—50-meter (m), 100m and 200m freestyle.

“I’m always striving to get better. I’m very hardworking and I want to achieve great things for the Philippines,” said Sanchez, who helped Team Canada nail a silver medal in the 4x100m freestyle relay and a bronze in the 4x100m medley relay in the 2021 Tokyo Olympics.

World tilt medals

Sanchez also cornered a pair of silvers in the 4x100m freestyle and mixed 4x100m freestyle relays for Canada as well as bronzes in the 4x200m free and 4x100m medley relays during the 2022 World Aquatics Championships in Budapest, Hungary.

Born to Filipino parents Noel and Susana who migrated to Canada when Kayla was still a child, Sanchez also looms to be a potential record-breaking talent in the Southeast Asian Games starting with the 2025 edition in Thailand in the 50m, 100m, 200m free, 50m and 100m backstroke and 200m individual medley events.

But what is most exciting is the potential of Sanchez standing on the podium of next year’s 2024 Paris Olympics.

‘Strong anchor’

“The World Aquatics has approved the request for the sport nationality’s change of the athlete (Sanchez), born on April 7, 2001, in the aquatics sports of swimming, from Canada to the Philippines,” said World Aquatics legal counsel Loic Loutan in a letter transmitted to the Philippine Olympic Committee.

“Therefore, the athlete is entitled to represent the Philippines in international competitions from 6 July 2023 onwards,” added Loutan.

“Thank you so much for helping me get the approval from World Aquatics,” Sanchez told Philippine Olympic Committee president Abraham Tolentino, whose agency pursued the transfer of Sanchez.

“The country now has a very strong anchor in its national swimming team,” said Tolentino.

The Asiad, slated in Hangzhou, China on Sept. 23 to Oct. 8, will be Sanchez’ first event as a Filipino.

Upon the advice of her coach, Sanchez will skip the World Aquatics Championships starting July 14 in Fukuoka, Japan.

No Filipino swimmer has won a medal in the Olympics since Teófilo Yldefonso claimed a pair of bronzes in the 1928 Amsterdam and 1932 Los Angeles Games.

Sanchez can break that medal drought in Paris. INQ

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