Olympic medalist Kayla Sanchez to swim for Philippines
MANILA, Philippines–Swimmer Kayla Noelle Sanchez won two medals for Canada in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Sanchez has now decided to bring her act to the Philippines.
The 21-year-old swim ace from Toronto announced on Thursday that she’s ready to don the Philippine colors in future international meets starting with Fina World Championships next year in Fukuoka, Japan.
“I’m proud of my heritage, I’m proud to be a Filipino, so I’m excited with this new journey,’’ said Sanchez during her presser organized by the Philippine Swimming Inc. at the Philippine Olympic Committee head office in Pasig City.
By agreeing to compete for the national tri-colors, Sanchez will undergo a 12-month residency in the Philippines to qualify for the world championships under the Philippine flag.
Born to Filipino parents Noel and Susana, Sanchez can possibly suit up for the country in the 2024 Paris Olympics with help of the International Swimming Federation or Fina, the International Olympic Committee and the POC. She needs a three-year residency in the country to make it to Paris.
“I’m always striving to get better. I’m very hardworking and I want to achieve great things for the Philippines, so let’s say gold medal and you guys can hold me to it,’’ said Sanchez, who claimed a silver medal in the women’s 4x100m freestyle relay and a bronze medal in the women’s 4x100m medley relay during the Tokyo Olympics.
She recently bagged two silver medals in the women’s 4x100m freestyle and mixed 4x100m freestyle relays and a pair of bronzes in the 4x 200m free and 4x 100m medley relays during last month’s Fina World Championships in Budapest, Hungary.
“PSI is here, with pride and pleasure, to announce to the community that Kayla has decided to transfer to the Philippines effective immediately,’’ said PSI president Lailani Velasco.
“It is her hope to represent her motherland at the Paris Olympics in 2024. The PSI recognizes the impact that Kayla will have to the community, as seen in the impact she has towards the Filipino community in Canada. The addition of Kayla is a definite boost to the country,’’ added Velasco.
It’s been a long time since the Philippines won a medal in the Olympics with Teofilo Yldefonso pocketing two bronze medals in 1928 Amsterdam (men’s 200m breaststroke) and 1932 Los Angeles.
The entry of Sanchez into the national swimming team could break the impasse.
“I think now is the time to bring what I do and what I love here in the Philippines. I think it’s a bigger picture and a bigger meaning using what I do and what I love to inspire Filipinos like me to commit to sports and show what they are capable of,’’ said Sanchez.
“Kayla is a role model for Filipinos, not just in Canada or the Philippines, but all over the world,’’ said Velasco, who expressed her gratitude to the swimming federation of Canada for allowing Sanchez to transfer seamlessly to the Philippines.