EVEN while fighting COVID-19 in isolation, Robert Bachmann somehow managed to get the job done, getting reelected as president of the Philippine Squash Association in ultra-tech virtual polls last March 1 with the aid of an Artificial Intelligence assistant conducting the event.
“We did a Zoom virtual annual general meeting and election with an AI virtual assistant that hosted the entire activity. Everything was automated,” said Bachmann, who won a fresh four-year mandate in securing all of the 70 votes cast.
Cycling Secretary General Atty. Billy Sumagui served as the Philippine Olympic Committee observer in the polls that saw Sheree Gotuaco getting the nod as PSA vice president, Clementine Poblete-Apacible, secretary general; and Jose L. Mabilangan, treasurer.
Named to the PSA board were Carlito Abanil, Maria Lourdes Lucero, Anthony Reyes, Juan Lorenzo Tanada and Eugenio Villanueva, according to Bachmann.
Bachman said he felt unwell after appearing in a court hearing in Taguig last Feb. 23 for a libel case filed by Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee president Tats Suzara against him and other former POC board member over the management and operations of the 30th SEA Games in 2019.
He said he lost his sense of taste and smell days after that hearing and had a swab test with the Philippine Red Cross, with the results showing he was positive for the virus.
Still fit and healthy at 56, Bachmann said he self-quarantined at the guest room of their spacious home in Ayala Alabang once he knew his condition, acquiring the needed equipment, including an oxygen tank, while being attended to by a “competent” medical team.
He said he will have another swab test in two weeks to determine if he still has the disease, adding that he is keen on building on the national team’s success in the 30th Southeast Asian Games that got stymied by the pandemic.
National squash players achieved a golden milestone two years ago, ruling the mixed team event for the country’s first mint in the sport since the 1991 edition of the meet held in Manila, on top of a pair of silver and bronze medals in placing second overall in the five-nation sport.
He said among his priorities is finishing the construction of the PSA’s new national training center inside the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex funded by the Philippine Sports Commission that got stalled when the RMSC was converted into a COVID-19 quarantine facility.