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World Aquatics gives high marks to PAI...

World Aquatics gives high marks to PAI hosting of Asian Age Group Championships

Photos: (from left): Asian Aquatics Vice President Daichi Suzuki, World Aquatics President Capt. Husain Al-Musallam, PAI President Miko Vargas and PA Secretary General Eric Buhain.

Add another "A," for a top grade, to the 11th Asian Age Group Aquatics Championships (AAGC), which the Philippines recently hosted and concluded at the New Clark City Aquatics Center in Capas, Tarlac.

Striking even is how Capt. Husain Al-Musallam, president of the world governing body in aquatics, described the country's hosting of the more than 33-nation, two-weeklong splash that the World Aquatics (WA) even authorized as an Olympic Qualifying event.

"Before I came here, I was not thinking about the facility I will see, but what I saw was beautiful," Al-Musallam said during his visit and ocular of the whole hosting and near the end of competitions last week in Tarlac. "It's not Asia, but you can also host world events."

The AAGC organizers, led by Philippine Aquatics, Inc. (PAI) in partnership with the Local Organizing Committee (LOC), were present when the World Aquatics top executive went on with his accolades.

"The volunteers, the organizing committee, Philippine Aquatics (Inc.), the city, the airport—all one team. You rarely find everybody together, everybody working to create an excellent environment for the athletes to compete."

World Aquatics was aware that hosting the AAGC is a very challenging task. For this year's edition alone, the Philippine Aquatics, Inc. vigorously worked with partners—and with big support from Malacañang via Memorandum Circular 43 ordering help from various sectors of the country—to accommodate some 1,400 athletes, coaches, and trainers from Asia.

And the WA verdict to the Philippine effort: "What I have said before, you deserved a 10."

The PAI, led by Michael "Miko" Vargas, humbly accepted the high rating from the WA. "We truly appreciate not only your presence but also the support and guidance you've been giving to aquatics in Asia, especially the Philippines. From the bottom of our hearts, we thank you."

For his part, PAI sec-gen and Batangas 1st District Rep. Eric Buhain, shared the honor of the successful staging of the AAGC with the whole Philippine aquatics community and countrymen who pitched in with whatever help they could.

"We're very grateful to the trust given by World Aquatics to Philippine Aquatics. It's not something that we take lightly. In fact, we will use this trust to work harder and always keep our best foot forward every step of the way. This success, this honor, is not just for PAI but for the Filipino nation."

Meanwhile, Farid Fatahian, Asia Aquatics liaison officer to the 11th Asian Age Group Championships local organizing committee, said that with the success of the AAGC in Capas, Tarlac, he is already looking forward to the Philippines hosting another Asian-level competition.

"I’m very satisfied (with the Philippine hosting), and Asian Aquatics is very happy with what you have done for the success of AAGC. The WA and the AA see no problem with working hand in hand with the PAI (in future projects)," added Al-Musallam.


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