KAYLA Sanchez’s change of nationality from Canada to the Philippines was formally approved by the World Aquatics effective Thursday, July 6.
The approval was relayed by the Word Aquatics in an official communication sent to the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC).
“The World Aquatics has approved the request for the sport nationality’s change of the Athlete (Sanchez), born on 7 April 2001, in the Aquatics sports of Swimming, from Canada (CAN) to Philippines (PHI),” said World Aquatics Legal Counsel Loic Loutan in a letter dated Tuesday (July 4) and transmitted to the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) on Thursday.
“Therefore, the athlete is entitled to represent Philippines in international competitions from 6 July 2023 onwards,” added Loutan.
The POC, through its president Rep. Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino, fervently pursued Sanchez’s change of nationality for the past year, which included her completing a year-long residency requirement.
“This is really good news for all of us. The country now has a very strong anchor in its national swimming team,” said Tolentino in a statement.
The 22-year-old Sanchez will officially represent the country in the 19th Asian Games scheduled Sept.23-Oct.8 in Hangzhou, China.
.Sanchez, who is best remembered for winning a gold medal in the 4x100m freestyle in the Tokyo Olympics and three gold medals in the world championships in Abu Dhabi in 2021, won’t be competing upon the advice of her coach at the world aquatics championships in Fukuoka, Japan starting next week.
Instead, will concentrate on her campaign in the Asian Games in Hangzhou.
“Thank you so much for helping me get the approval from World Aquatics. Now I can be focused to medal in the Asian Games in September,” Sanchez earlier told Tolentino.
Sanchez, who was born to Filipino parents in Singapore, but grew up in Toronto, is hoping to deliver a gold medal for the country in 41 years.
The last time the country won a medal in the Asian Games was in 1982 in New Delhi, India courtesy of William Wilson, who bagged the gold in the men’s 200m freestyle.