MANILA, Philippines -- Swimmer Kayla Sanchez, who won two medals in the Tokyo Olympics, has decided to switch federations and represent the Philippines in international events.
The Filipino-Canadian athlete won a silver in the 4x100m freestyle and a bronze in the 4x100m medley with Team Canada in Tokyo last year.
"The Philippine Swimming, Inc. (PSI) welcomes Sanchez with open arms and is committed to helping her achieve her goals in the next few years, including a possible stint at the Paris Olympics in 2024," PSI president Lani Velasco said on Thursday during their introductory press conference for Sanchez.
Also present in the event was Philippine Olympic Committee deputy secretary-general Bones Floro.
Sanchez, 21, has represented Canada since 2017 and is the reigning world junior record holder in 50-meter freestyle.
Just recently, she took two silvers and two bronzes in the 19th FINA World Championships in Budapest, Hungary.
She also bagged three golds in the 15th FINA World Swimming Championships (25m) in Abu Dhabi, UAE.
Sanchez traces her roots to Pampanga through her father and to Baguio through her mother. She arrived in Manila on Wednesday, and is now in the process of making her transition to competing for the Philippines.
"It was a matter of timing and a question of timing and now is a good time to bring what I do and what I love here in the Philippines," said Sanchez.
"I think it's a bigger picture of and a bigger meaning of using what I do and what I love to inspire Filipinos like me to commit to sports and show what they are capable of," she added.