THE Philippines will be hosting one qualifying event for the coming Paris Olympics.

14 February 2024

THE Philippines will be hosting one qualifying event for the coming Paris Olympics.

The 11th Asian Age Group Championships now serve as qualifier to this year’s Summer Games in a development that added significant mileage to the Feb. 26 to March 9 event at the New Clark City Aquatics Center in Capas, Tarlac.

The good news was relayed by organizers of the tournament on Tuesday during the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum at the conference hall of the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex led by Congressman Eric Buhain, secretary-general of the Philippine Aquatics Inc.

“Just two days ago, it has been declared na yun pong tournament ay Olympic Qualifying event for Paris,” said Organizing Committee President and CEO Joseph ‘Jojit’ Alcazar, who joined COO Dave Carter and Buhain in the weekly session presented by San Miguel Corporation, Philippine Sports Commission, Philippine Olympic Committee, MILO, PLDT/Smart, and ArenaPlus, the leading sports entertainment gateway in the Philippines.

Buhain added, “That also means there will be world-class swimmers coming in and doing their best to make the qualifying times for Paris. So napakalaking opportunity ito to host and see these swimmers. Bihirang-bihira na makakita tayo ng ganitong kalibreng mga atleta sa larangan ng aquatics na darating dito sa ating bansa.”

Around 1,300 athletes from 31 countries are expected to come over and compete in the four disciplines at stake, namely swimming, diving, artistic swimming, and water polo.

Buhain clarified though that only swimming serves as a qualifier to the Olympics.

Nonetheless, organizers see a possible surge in the number of entries and countries participating leading to the event following the decision to make the event an Olympic qualifier.

“Puwede pang lumobo ito dahil ngayon meron pang naghahabol na mapasali dito sa ating event,” said Alcazar.

A total of 44 swimmers – 22 boys and 22 girls – will comprise Team Philippines set to compete in the meet after being selected during the national tryouts held at the Teofilo Yldefonso swimming pool at the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex late last year based on the World Aquatics qualifying points.

Southeast Asian Games record holder Xiandi Chua and gold medalist Chloe Isleta lead the country’s bid in the tournament.

Age-group events at stake are the 12-14, 15-17, and 18-and-above.

Meanwhile, four men and women will represent the country in diving and two foreign-based Filipinos are going to compete in artistic swimming.

Swimming competitions will be held from Feb. 26-29, diving from Feb. 26 to March 1, artistic swimming on March 2-6, and water polo on March 3-9.

Buhain said India, Pakistan, Malaysia, Japan, Vietnam, and Sri Lanka are the countries which will send the biggest delegation.

World Aquatics president Husain Al-Musallam and other officials of Asia Aquatics have signified their intentions to visit and watch the event.