by Emil C. Noguera
Philippine Swimming League (PSL) President Susan Papa asked the Philippine Swimming Incorporated (PSI) to democratize swimming in the country to encourage more promising swimmers to join PSI-sanctioned tournaments.
Papa questioned the PSI membership ruling saying, “only members of the PSI are allowed to compete in any PSI events.” PSI, the former Philippine Amateur Swimming Association, is headed by Mark Joseph.
“PSI has an exclusive membership and it also has a rule of ‘Unauthorized Relation’ referring to PSI swimmers cannot have any relationship to any non-PSI member,” said Papa.
The PSL chief stressed that the being the national sports association (NSA) for swimming in the country, PSI must open its doors to all swimmers to strengthen its talent identification program.
As the head of the family, Papa also called the attention of the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) to “take this matter seriously as the Philippine swimming is sinking. The POC must encourage all NSAs to open their tryouts to every Filipino athlete that can qualify in events like the Southeast Asian Games, Asian Games and Olympic Games.”
“It is the POC that sends and gives accreditation to the athletes and it has the right to approve and reject any recommendations from NSAs before discussing the matter with the Philippine Sports Commission for budgeting,” Papa added.
Papa further said: “Every Filipino has the right to know whether the athletes or swimmers sent are deserving. Swimming is a measurable sport and it is easy to identify the best swimmers. It is a medal-rich sport compared to others especially the team events like basketball, baseball, softball. One swimmer could win as much as eight gold medals.”
The PSI election is set next month, according to Papa, who stressed she has no intention of getting a position in the association.
“I just want that the next PSI swimming president to know the rights of every swimmer. No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, without due process of law, nor shall any person be denied the equal protection of the laws as said the NSA swimming rule can not in any way be contrary to law,” said Papa.
“The unauthorized rule is what PSI is imposing among its individual members and if this continues then Philippine swimming will not produce the best. The rule of the PSI must not contradict on the rule of the land,” she added.
The PSL is the national sports association for swimming of the Federation of School Sports Association of the Philippines (FESSAP)—the recognized body of the International University Sports Federation (FISU). PSL selects swimmers for the 2015 World Universiade in Gwangju, South Korea.