POC: ‘We’ll fight for EJ’

·2 min read

THE Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) had already expected some kind of blowback stemming from its call to declare Philippine Athletic Track and Field Association (Patafa) president Philip Juico as persona non grata.

And so, it comes as no surprise to POC president Bambol Tolentino that Olympic pole vaulter EJ Obiena was dropped from the Philippine national team in a stunning move on Tuesday.

“I expected EJ will be dropped from the national team by his NSA as a vengeful act,” said Tolentino.

With this development, the decision whether to uphold the Patafa’s decision lies in the hands of the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC). The next step will prove crucial as the Philippines will be competing in both the Southeast Asian Games and the Asian Games later this year.

“The ball is now with the PSC, will the PSC allow EJ to be stricken off from the national team? Will the government allow a world-class athlete to be out of the national team?” shared Tolentino.

“Being the Asian record holder, number six in the world, and number three best performer in 2021, will the PSC allow one gold medal to be lost in Huangzhou long before the Asian Games?” he added.

Tolentino said Juico’s act of removing Obiena from the national team is nothing but a spiteful act that harms the country’s chances of achieving sporting glory on the international stage.

“The action of Mr. Juico in removing EJ Obiena from the national pool is an expected result of his expose—a vengeful act that shuts down the chances of the Philippines from its Olympic dream.

“The POC has made an early evaluation of this and, I am sorry that we cannot make our cards shown in public. Suffice it to say that we are created for the Olympic dreams of our athletes and we will support our athletes in achieving their dreams,” said Tolentino.

“We in the POC will make sure EJ will be in Hanoi and Huangzhou and in all other major world competitions, we’ll fight for EJ,” he continued.

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