Petrov: I was misled in Obiena ‘witch hunt’

·2 min read
Pole vaulter EJ Obiena (left) and coach Vitaly Petrov. (Source: EJ Obiena/Facebook)
Pole vaulter EJ Obiena (left) and coach Vitaly Petrov. (Source: EJ Obiena/Facebook)

EAGER to put a dot on the controversy that has affected his prized ward, EJ Obiena, coach Vitaliy Petrov issued a final statement saying that he was tricked by the questioning of Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association (Patafa) president Philip Ella Juico to paint Obiena in a bad light.

In his statement, Petrov said he has been paid more than what he’s due and that he has no issue with Obiena, who he has coached since 2018. He added that he wants to put a stop to this issue as it has severely affected his job and Obiena’s mental wellness and ability to train.

“I want to make this simple, and final. This entire situation has severely impacted my ability to do my job and has severely affected EJ’s mental state and ability to train. This must stop. This is destroying lives and careers for nothing,” read Petrov’s statement.

“First, I have been fully paid by EJ Obiena. Secondly, I have no issue with EJ Obiena. Thirdly, I never have reached out to Patafa, and I never initiated any complaint against EJ Obiena. Fourth, I was misled by the provocative questioning of Philip Ella Juico and I mistakenly answered his questionnaire according to the way that he wanted me to, which is to make EJ Obiena look like a criminal.

Lastly, I hereby formally withdraw any prior statements or documents associated with me. This is the only document that may be attributed to myself. I have athletes who need me. I do not have more time to waste on this proverbial ‘witch hunt,’” said Petrov.

The controversy stems from Patafa’s probe into Petrov’s salary after Juico said he was told about its non-payment after a talk with Petrov and his former ward and now international athletics federation top official, Sergei Bubka. Petrov, though, rebuffed these claims, saying that while the payment came late at times, he has been fully compensated.

“I have never proactively complained to anyone on EJ and payments, specifically never to Patafa or to any Philippines sports official. What has happened is I have been directly approached by Philip Ella Juico and heavily questioned, alongside my former athlete Sergei Bubka, in a manner which confused me and I felt pressured to answer in a way that they wanted me to answer,” said Petrov.

“I answered it in a way because I honestly thought it would help unburden EJ of this unnecessary role of managing my payments and that he could fully focus on training. I never could have imagined it would be used in this way it is used now as a weapon to destroy a promising career,” said Petrov.

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