The Philippine Olympic Committee general assembly confirmed the recognition of the Philippine Aquatics Inc. as the national sports association for aquatic sports on Friday at the East Ocean Palace Restaurant in Parañaque City.
The POC executive board, headed by president Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino, unanimously voted on PAI’s recognition when it met just before the general assembly meeting.
Tolentino said the executive board acted positively on the recommendation of the POC membership committee, which received the final and most important criterion for regular membership — recognition from swimming’s international federation World Aquatics (formerly FINA).
“There’s a new NSA (national sports association) that is already recognized by the international federation World Aquatics,” said Tolentino referring to the PAI, whose top officials — president Mico Vargas, secretary general Eric Buhain and executive director Chito Rivera — attended the assembly.
The PAI replaced the Philippine Swimming Inc., forerunner of the Philippine Amateur Swimming Association, which lost its recognition from the IF.
“It’s in the POC constitution that once there is a recognize federation by the IF, we have to recognize that automatically as well,” Tolentino said.
“The removal of the PSI is due to the non-recognition of IF. An IF recognition is one crucial requirement for NSAs.”
Vargas thanked officials of the 46 NSAs who attended the assembly, including International Olympic Committee Representative to the Philippines Mikee Cojuangco-Jaworski and officials of the athletes commission for welcoming the PAI.
“We’re excited to start reforming the aquatics community,” Vargas said.
“We took a hard route to recognition so we’re expecting tougher routes ahead, it’s just the start.”