Patafa drops Obiena from PH team

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POLE vault star and Asian record holder EJ Obiena was dropped from the Philippine Team.

The Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association (Patafa) investigative committee endorsed six recommendations. These included dropping Obiena from representing the country, and filing a criminal complaint of Estafa.

In a press conference held Jan. 2, Patafa president Philip Ella Juico said that “the report brought me so much sadness and feelings of betrayal, but we have to face the challenge because we should account for all the fund—government and private—given we have a responsibility over showing of all moral, ethical considerations.”

In November 2021, Patafa investigated Obiena regarding the alleged falsified liquidation documents and delayed payments to Ukrainian coach Vitaly Petrov, among others. Petrov has since come to his athlete’s defense.

Following the removal of Obiena from the national team, a complaint is set to be filed by Patafa against Petrov before the World Athletics in violation of the Integrity of Code of Conduct, eventually terminating him as national team coach. American businessman and Obiena’s backer, James Michael Lafferty, will also be declared by the national athletics federation as persona non grata.

As of press time, Obiena has declined any participation in the mediation offered by the Philippine Sports Commission.

Obiena holds the No. 6 world rank in pole vaulting and was the only Asian to reach the final round in the Tokyo Olympics finishing at the 11th spot.

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