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Ex-Olympian named acting swim head

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The Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) yesterday installed two-time Olympian Ral Rosario as acting president of the Philippine Swimming Inc. (PSI) in a move aimed at rescuing the sport from sinking deeper into the abyss.

In a meeting called by the POC at the Philsports in Pasig, PSI president Mark Joseph was a no-show but his handpicked secretary general Lani Velasco attended, alongside Rosario, who represented the country in the 1972 (Munich) and 1976 (Montreal) Olympics.

“We have to move on,” said POC secretary general Steve Hontiveros, who is a member of a three-man panel tasked to handle the swimming problem.

Former International Olympic Committee representative to the Philippines Frank Elizalde, is the head of the panel that also has netball head and lawyer Charlie Ho as member.

Elizalde said both Rosario and Velasco “have agreed to work together” as the POC awaits the submission of a document containing the amended by-laws of the PSI.

“By May, we might already have the document that will be submitted to the IF (international federation) for approval,” said Elizalde, noting that Velasco and Rosario have to reach out to legitimate stakeholders for the formation of the board of directors from which the officers will be elected into office.

Joseph, who rose to power more than a decade ago, has kept himself away from the public eye the last 18 months.

Despite his inability to attend various functions, Joseph is intensely active on social media criticizing the country’s anti-illegal drugs campaign.

Asked about Joseph’s whereabouts, Hontiveros said it would be better for the NBI to look into the matter.

“Nobody knows where he is exactly. NBI na dapat,” said Hontiveros.

Still, Elizalde admits he doesn’t know if a new set of officers will be sworn in before the opening of the 29th Southeast Asian Games starting Aug. 19 in Kuala Lumpur.

Swimming has the most number of gold medals at stake with about 60.

But based on the Philippines’ most recent showing in the biennial meet, it doesn’t look like the other nations will see the country as a threat.

In Singapore two years ago, Hawaii-based Jasmine Alkhaldi took the bronze.

The last time the Philippines made waves was in 2009 in Laos during the time of Fil-Am Miguel Molina.