The past few months have been very eventful for pole vault superstar EJ Obiena. The 26-year old track athlete competed in the Tokyo Olympics. He even managed to jump to fifth place in the world pole vault rankings.
Hence, it came as a surprise to the public when Ej Obiena announced in late November that he received a letter from the ‘investigating committee’ of the Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association or PATAFA. The letter concerned the payment to his coach, Mr. Vitaly Petrov, which was coursed through Obiena himself.Â
Since then, the record-breaking athlete had been forced to defend his name and reputation as he had been accused of not paying his coach on time. The issue even came to the point that the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) declared PATAFA President Phillip Ella Juico as persona non grata.
To resolve the issue, the Philippine Sports Committee (PSC) offered to mediate between Obiena’s camp and PATAFA. On January 24, Obiena announced via social media that he wishes to withdraw from PSC’s offer.
In a lengthy post, Obiena explained that while he was thankful to PSC Chairman Butch Ramirez for his hard work as a peacemaker. However, it seemed that PATAFA was only using mediation as a means to silence Obiena and keep the truth from the public. Obiena said that he had nothing to hide, and that’s why he wanted the truth to be out in public.
“I cannot let these lies be cemented as truths. These very lies are what will push our World-Class Filipino Athletes away. What do World-Class Filipino Athlete have to lose if they are pushed away from their own nation by their own NSA?” Obiena stated.
He ended his post by sharing that he is contemplating stepping away from Philippine Athletics. “I have lost faith in my NSA president but I have not lost faith in our country and our country’s true sport leaders. I trust that they will set aside politics and do what is RIGHT and good for the country. If all else fail then my NSA would have succeeded in pushing me out of the country. I would be forced to step away from Philippine Athletics,” he said.
So what will happen next? We’ll have to wait and see. For now, Obiena is scheduled to start his 2022 campaign in Germany this coming January 28.
Art Daniella Sison