INCHEON, Korea: The prognosis isn’t good, and Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) Chairman Ricardo ‘Ritchie’ Garcia wants to find the remedy to the swimming team’s poor performance in the 17th Asian Games as fast as possible.
Garcia, the country’s Chief of Mission here, said the PSC and the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) should sit with Philippine Swimming, Inc. (PSI) President Mark Joseph to see how they could check the continuing skid of the swimmers in big international meets.
“We should meet with Mark very soon,” Garcia said. “We want to know how the PSI would plot a program to better its standing among the national sports associations.”
The PSC has recently demoted the PSI from its list of priority sports.
The PSI used to receive P20 million yearly as financial support from government through the PSC. The amount was slashed in half after it lost its priority status.
Only three swimmers have qualified for the Asiad. They are Fil-Am Joshua Hall, Jessie Khing Lacuna and Jasmine Alkhadi, whose best performance in the team of ninth place overall only merited her a mere reserve status in the medal race for the women’s butterfly on Tuesday.
“Mark has always been batting for more participation, but he has not been using the Rizal Memorial swimming pool for tournaments, which he could hold monthly if he wants with the assistance the PSI receives from the PSC,” Garcia said.
“It’s time we sit down and plot the swimming program,” he added.
Joseph, according to Garcia, has been trying to break through with Fil-Am swimmers, but the PSI has since not been organizing local tournaments which could be a vehicle for more discoveries in the molds of champion swimmers Eric Buhain, Akiko Thomson and Ryan Papa.
“Buhain, Papa and Thomson, of course, were further honed by their training in the United States. But discovering talents has to start somewhere,” Garcia said.
EMIL C. NOGUERA