Former PH swimming head Mark Joseph dies
MANILA, Philippines – Former Philippine swimming federation president Mark Joseph passed away in his home in the United Kingdom.
He was 56.
Joseph died in his sleep, Philippine Swimming Inc president Lani Velasco confirmed the news to Rappler on Thursday, March 7.
After leaving the Philippines, the former swim head lived with his brother Chris in UK.
Chris was waiting for him to come down and have coffee with him during breakfast. But after a period of time, Chris went to check on Joseph in his room and found him dead.
"Mr. Joseph made a significant impact in Philippine swimming by promoting the sport at the grassroots level and by raising the Philippine swimming to international standards," read the statement from PSI.
Before Joseph became an active figure in Philippine swimming in 1986, he qualified for the 1980 Moscow Olympics but did not see action as the Philippines joined the US-led boycott of the quadrennial event.
One of the highlights of his term came in the 2008 Beijing Olympics when the country sent 5 swimmers – Ryan Arabejo, Daniel Coakley, Miguel Molina, James Walsh, and Christel Simms.
Joseph was also a member of the High Diving Commission in FINA, swimming’s world governing body.
But Joseph’s reign was heavily criticized towards the end of his term due to the poor performance of Philippine swimmers in international events.
In the 2012 and 2016 Olympics, only Jessie Lacuna and Jasmine Alkhaldi made the cut for the top multi-sport event.
There were also controversies that marred the former swimming chief’s leadership.
In 2011, former senator Nikki Coseteng – who backed another group, the Philippine Swimming League (PSL) – filed graft and corruption and money laundering cases before the Office of the Ombudsman against former Philippine Amusements and Gaming Corp. (PAGCOR) chairman Efraim Genuino, Philippine Sports Commission chairman Butch Ramirez and Joseph – who was the president of the national swimming federation then known as the Philippine Amateur Swimming Association (PASA).
Joseph was allegedly involved in the transfer of PAGCOR funds to Trace College and Aquatic Center in Los Baños, Laguna owned by Genuino.
Five years later, the Ombudsman found that the P37 million was directly disbursed to PASA instead of the PSC for the training of swimmers who competed in the 2012 Olympics, which led to the graft charge on Joseph, Genuino and 7 others.
The graft case is still pending before the Sandiganbayan’s 3rd Division. – Rappler.com