MANILA, Philippines - The International University Sports Federation (FISU) has confirmed the membership of the Federation of School Sports Association of the Philippines (FESSAP) as the sole university sports federation from the Philippines.
In a correspondence to the FESSAP on Jan. 8, from the FISU headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland, FISU secretary general-chief executive officer Eric Saintrond stated: “We would like to inform you that the FISU Executive Committee officially...decided to confirm the membership of the FESSAP as FISU Member Association.
“FISU therefore officially recognizes the FESSAP as the sole representative of university sports in the Philippines.”
This effectively put to rest the bid of the University Athletic Association of the Philippines, which has only eight members from the Metro Manila area, to replace the FESSAP as the Philippine representative to the FISU.
According to FESSAP legal representative-adviser, lawyer Ma. Luz Arzaga-Mendoza, the decision is “a vindication for FESSAP and we are happy that the FISU Ex-com saw the light and confirmed our membership in the FISU. For that, the FESSAP is grateful.”
Arzaga-Mendoza said that “in its request for membership during the FISU General Assembly set July 3-4 at the Korston Hotel in Kazan, Russian Federation, the UAAP claimed in its position paper that it owned the oldest university sports association in the Philippines since 1924.
“On the contrary, it is the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) that is the oldest sports association in the country (since 1924)”, said Arzaga-Mendoza.
FESSAP president David Ong was elated over the confirmation of FESSAP’s membership in the FISU.
“I am happy that the FISU executive committee made the right decision to confirm FESSAP’s membership in the FISU,” said Ong.
“But it also means the start of another two-year cycle of hard work. This early, we need to prepare our university athletes for the 2015 Summer Universiade in Gwangju, Korea. A lot of preparations have to be done but this is the challenge that the FESSAP must undertake to ensure another successful campaign by the Philippines in Gwangju City.”
The FISU organizes the Summer Universiade and Winter Universiade every two years. The Universiade, also called the World University Games, is a biennial multi-sport competition featuring the best university athletes around the world. It is considered the “Olympics” of international university sports.
The FESSAP has been recognized by the FISU as its sole university sports federation from the Philippines since 2009. It took part in the 26th Summer Universiade in Shenzhen, China in 2011 where the country was one of 65 countries out of 152 nations to capture a medal – a silver courtesy of Samuel Thomas Harper Morrison in men’s taekwondo.
Last year, during the 27th Summer Universiade in Kazan, Russian Federation, the FESSAP sent another delegation that was rewarded with a gold from Grandmaster Wesley So in men’s chess. It was the first ever gold registered by the Philippines in the 54-year history of the Universiade. It was one of only 40 nations to earn a gold medal among a record-setting 162 participating countries.
“The best is yet to come,” said Ong, but noted that “more hard work has to be done as we go along.”
Starting this year, the FESSAP is undertaking the National Students Championships and qualifying tournaments in various parts of the country with the top university athletes being considered to compete for the Philippines in future Universiades.
According to Ong, early qualifying tournaments for badminton and table tennis are set to be held in Region 1, while lawn tennis competitions will be staged in Metro Manila.
The Philippine Swim League, latest member of FESSAP, is starting next week its selection process program for 2015.
The first FESSAP Education Forum is also in the drawing boards. This will involve speakers from various disciplines who will discuss sports medicine, sports preparations, event hosting, legal representation and other matters.
Through this forum, the FESSAP seeks to establish a better working relationship with its 100-plus affiliate members and organizations throughout the country.