Olympic medalist swimmer Kayla Sanchez chooses Philippines over Canada

Kayla Sanchez Olympic medalist swimmer
In a reverse switch from what is usually experienced in Philippine sports, Canadian Olympic and national swimmer Kayla Noelle Sanchez has dropped the flag of Canada and now represents the Philippines. Photos from PSI, BCDA Group FB.

Filipina-Canadian Olympic medalist Kayla Noelle Pramoso Sanchez has chosen to compete for the Philippines and will join the national swimming team in international competitions.

The Tokyo and Rio Olympics medalist of the Canadian swimming team will don the Philippine national flag’s colors after her request earlier this year to be freed from the Canadian swimming team was granted in June 2022.

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The 21-year-old swimmer born in Singapore to Filipino parents has represented Canada as a member of the senior national team since 2017 and has made a name for herself in the international swimming community while competing and winning medals in major competitions both as a junior and senior swimmer.

The decorated swimmer was a key member of Canada’s national swimming team, representing Canada in major international competitions such as the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, where she won a silver and bronze medal, and the FINA World Championships in Budapest held in June 2022, her last meet for Canada.

Kayla Sanchez has registered Canadian individual national records including the historic 50-meter freestyle which broke the world record in 2018. If she duplicates her best records for Canada, Sanchez can eclipse a number of Philippine national records in swimming.

Sanchez was officially welcomed by the Philippine Swimming, Inc. (PSI) following her release from Swimming Canada, the Canadian national governing body for competitive swimming.

“PSI proudly introduces Kayla Noelle Pramoso Sanchez as its newest member!” the national sports association wrote on social media on July 7, 2022.

“In the next chapter of her career, she now hopes to don the national flag of the Philippines. PSI welcomes Kayla 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 added.

Kayla Sanchez grew up in Ontario from age 2 when her family migrated to Canada. She learned to swim at age 4 and started swimming competitively at age 8.

Kayla whose father Noel hails from Mabalacat, Pampanga, and mother Susana from Baguio, has always been proud of her Filipino roots and hopes to inspire others to take up the sport.

“I’ve always been really proud of my Filipino heritage,” Kayla told Swimming Canada.

“Aside from how much I’ve grown and how good everything has been in Canada, I needed to make this really difficult decision for myself and my family to take this opportunity to represent the Philippines. I want to help inspire people that are like me to swim and get into the sport,” Kayla said in the Canadian swimming governing body report.

The Filipino-Canadian athlete remains grateful to Canada even as she marks a new change in her career and represents the Philippines in future swimming competitions.

“I am so thankful and appreciative of Canada. I wouldn’t be the athlete I am today without the support and how much I grew and learned,” Kayla added. “It’s just a point in my life where it’s time for a change. I am stepping into a new point in my swim career where I can start to focus on myself and at the same time I’m hoping to help people in the Philippines.”

Kayla will be eligible to compete for the Philippines in international swimming competitions after she completes the requirement to reside in the country for “the majority” of one year per the International Swimming Federation (FINA) rule. Her last stint for Canada on June 25 will allow Sanchez to compete at the 2023 World Championships in Fukuoka, Japan, which run July 14-30.

SEND WELCOME CHEERS in the comments below to Filipina-Canadian swimmer Kayla Noelle Pramoso Sanchez for choosing to represent the Philippines in international events of the national swimming team!

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Margo is a voracious reader - some might even say she reads too much for her own good. She majored in BS Psychology and hopes to become a forensic psychologist one day. She’s also an aspiring writer, mental health advocate, and a staunch believer of equality.