RESIDENTS of Mabalacat City are proud and excited for their kabalen, Kayla Sanchez, a double medalist in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Sanchez, 21, whose father is a native of Mabalacat, has officially joined the Philippine swimming team and planning to represent the country in future games including the 2024 Paris Olympics.

Sanchez, together with some 30 young swimmers belonging to the Philippine team, visited New Clark City and tested the world-class sports facility.

Sanchez won five of Canada's six Olympic medals.

She was born in Singapore to overseas Filipino worker (OFW) parents.

Sanchez's father is a native of Mabalacat while her mother traces her roots in Baguio. Her family migrated to Canada.

Sanchez is considering a nationality switch to represent the Philippines.

Sanchez has been granted her release from Swimming Canada.

“I’ve always been really proud of my Filipino heritage,” Sanchez said in a Swimming Canada press release.

Sanchez expressed her gratitude to Canada for its role in her development as a swimmer.

“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,” she said.

“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," Sanchez added.