Mónica Franco is keen to see teqball grow in Panama ©FITEQ

One of Panama's leading voices for women's sport, Mónica Franco, has set her sights on developing teqball and hopes the sport can become a full member of the Panama Olympic Committee (COP) in future.

Speaking of the COP's pending formal recognition of the Panama Teqball Federation (PTF), Franco stressed that this means the organisation will only be an affiliate member.

It cannot be a full member of the NOC without teqball's recognition by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

Franco said: "This does refer to the national federation (NF) as an affiliate member of the COP, not a full member.

"In this sense, as I have been informed by the legal department of the COP, a sport has to be recognised by the IOC before our NOC statutes and national sports legislation permit the NF to be a full member of the COP.

"Once we have this recognition, it is only a matter of complying with the affiliation procedure for new members in accordance with the COP statutes."

This would include the PTF presenting the application to the COP Board of Directors, before a decision is made at the COP General Assembly.

Teams Panama and Hungary sharing a photo at the 2019 World Championships ©FITEQ
Teams Panama and Hungary sharing a photo at the 2019 World Championships ©FITEQ

Usually, the COP holds Assemblies in March and December, with extraordinary meetings also hosted once or twice a year.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the PTF has slowed down the process to be recognised by COP.

It is now due to be discussed at a meeting in December 2020 or March 2021.

Panama competed at the 2019 World Teqball Championships in all events for the first time, and Franco has laid out plans for the sport this year.

"Our main goals are to be fully recognised by the Panamanian Institute of Sports and affiliated with the COP, to spread teqball widely in Panama, to establish strategic alliances to promote and develop the sport and to encourage the creation and development of teqball clubs," she added.

Franco currently works in the COP marketing department and has a strong background in sport, including being a part of the women's national basketball team.

The Federation of International Teqball has yet to be formally recognised by the IOC.