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Swimmers’ community lauds Malacañang support of the Asian Age Group Championships

The Philippine aquatics community is now abuzz with excitement following the recent Presidential declaration of support for the country’s hosting of the 11th Asian Age Group Championships, with the organizing Philippine Aquatics, Inc. hailing it “the buoy that saves the success” of the event slated from Feb. 26 to March 9 at the New Clark City Aquatics Center in Capas City, Tarlac.

“And just like that, we’re off to a very fine sailing start of this first-ever endeavor for the PAI,” said Eric Buhain, Congressman for the 1st District of Batangas and PAI secretary-general. “The Philippine aquatics community thanks our beloved President Ferdinand Bong Bong Marcos Jr. for his support.”

Only recently, Malacañang has directed all government agencies and instrumentalities to provide necessary assistance to ensure the success of the Philippines’ hosting of the 11th Asian Age Group Championship from Feb. 26 to March 9.

The directive contained in Memorandum Circular (MC) 43, inked by Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin on Jan. 17, covers all government offices and instrumentalities, including government-owned or controlled corporations.

MC 43 also encourages the private sector to extend support and assistance for the event which is co-hosted by the Bases Conversion Development Authority (BCDA) and the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC).

“And the PAI considers that (Memorandum Circular 43) as a clear marching order for us to go all out of our way and host what could be the best-ever Asian Age-Group Championships,” said PAI president Miko Vargas.

“The 11th Asian Age Group Championship is a highly anticipated and prestigious swimming competition that brings together young swimmers from across Asia and showcases the talent and potential of the region’s emerging swimmers,” read the memorandum. “The hosting of said championship event in the Philippines will bring international prestige, publicity, goodwill, and economic benefits to the country.”

Buhain, who once held the country’s swimming image with his pool heroics in the 80s through the early 90s, very much welcomed in particular a line in the MC 43 that “also encourages the private sector to extend support and assistance for the country’s hosting of the event.”

“As a former national athlete who struggled no end for support for training and exposure, PBBM’s approval of the Asian Age Group Championships is like an answer to our prayers. To that MC 43, the PAI says ‘Yes sir, Mr. President, we will do our very best,’” added Buhain.

In the MC 43, it was highlighted that “The 11th Asian Age Group Championship is a highly anticipated and prestigious swimming competition that brings together young swimmers from across Asia and showcases the talent and potential of the region’s emerging swimmers,” and even added, “The hosting of said championship event in the Philippines will bring international prestige, publicity, goodwill, and economic benefits to the country.”

Around 1,400 swimmers from across Asia are expected to compete in the tournament. At the same time, the PAI earlier announced that around 44 Filipino swimmers– 22 boys and 22 girls, eight divers (4 boys and four girls), two artistic swimmers, and 16 coaches  – will join the competition. (Edwin Rollon)

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