The Philippine Swimming League (PSL) on Sunday encouraged the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) to strengthen its sports-for-all program to further develop young and promising athletes.
The PSC has a sports-for-all campaign in keeping with the advocacy of the International Olympic Committee—“a movement promoting the Olympic ideal that sport is a human right for all individuals regardless of race, social class and sex.”
PSL President Susan Papa said the association has its own successful grassroots development program, the longest running for swimming in the country.
“This program is our voluntary and independent response to the disturbing and continuous decline of the performance of our Filipino swimmers not only in the recent Olympic Games but in almost all Philippine Olympic Committee-sanctioned international competitions.
“We are gaining headway and successes for all these efforts. Unfortunately, there are persistent roadblocks that get in the way of this program,” said Papa.
The PSL has linked up with independent swimming clubs, coaches and swimmers to pursue a common vision of developing world-class athletes under democratic and progressive program.
Papa highlighted her group’s achievements, including a number of PSL national and international competitions, rising number of swimmers and clubs, and swimmers who reached international standards.
“These swimmers can already qualify in the POC-sanctioned international competitions. We want a truly ‘sports-for-all’ and effective grassroots development program free from stifling and undemocratic policies, remove unauthorized relation policy and membership requirement.
“We want a unified national program where the National Sports Association is truly the representative of all the sectors in all areas of the country, legitimate representation by region in the board,” said Papa.
PSC Chairman Ricardo Garcia said the commission already provided the PSL with support “on a case-to-case basis.”
“For example, we are letting them use the Rizal Memorial Swimming Pool since they have their own grassroots development program. Their aim is to develop swimmers and these swimmers are also Filipinos so we let them use our facilities. They are also welcome to join tournaments like the Batang Pinoy and Philippine National Games,” Garcia said.
The PSC recently removed swimming, under the Philippine Swimming Incorporated (PSI) headed by its President Mark Joseph, in its list of priority sports. The PSC also urged Joseph to come up with a clear PSI grassroots program.
Garcia warned that the PSC might stop giving funds to the PSI if Joseph fails to comply.