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CAVITE, Philippines — The Philippines is set to host an Olympic qualifier later this year with the staging of the 11th Asian Age Group Championships from December 3 to 14 at the New Clark City Aquatics Center.
The Philippine Olympic Committee (POC), serving in a caretaker capacity, is overseeing the event, and will hand it over to new leaders set to take over the embattled Philippine Swimming Inc.
“We are handling the competition as a caretaker — as long as there’s no legitimate swimming body recognized [by the Asia Swimming Federation and World Aquatics],” POC president Bambol Tolentino said during a press conference held in Tagaytay City here.
“The POC and BCDA (Bases Conversion and Development Authority) are together in this meet,” he added.
World Aquatics ordered the POC to stage an election for new swimming leaders on Thursday, June 8, at the East Ocean Seafood Restaurant in Parañaque City.
Held under the auspices of the Asia Swimming Federation (ASF), the event aims to set two records, namely the largest contingent of athletes in the event at around 1,400, and the number of countries at 40.
During its previous edition, which was held in India in 2019, it had 1,322 participants from 32 nations.
The event, which will feature four events — swimming, diving, water polo, and artistic swimming — will have three age groups, including the 11 to 18-year-old championship bracket.
Notable previous participants include Olympic gold medalists led by Joseph Schooling (Singapore), world record holder Kosuke Hagino, Rikako Ikee, and Ippei Watanabe (Japan), and Ye Shiwen and Sun Yang (China).
Aside from the Asian Age Group Swimming Championships, ASF will convene in a congress during the event.
The facility, operated by government-owned corporation BCDA, boasts a 2,000 capacity.
Certified by World Aquatics as a first-rate venue, the facilities were used by the Israeli national team during its preparation for the Tokyo Olympics in 2021.
Participants are expected to be housed in the nearby athletes’ village built for the 30th Southeast Asian Games that the Philippines hosted in 2019.
BCDA official Arrey Perez said new access roads from Clark International Airport to the NCC in Capas, Tarlac, will make the hosting convenient for athletes, officials, and tourists alike.
The Philippines was slated to host the event in 2020 but was postponed due to the pandemic. – Rappler.com