Pole vaulter Obiena says he’ll focus on training amid Patafa brouhaha

·2 min read

OLYMPIC pole vaulter Ernest John “EJ” Obiena said he is saddened by the sudden turn of events regarding his rift with the Philippine Athletic Track and Field Association and its president, Philip Juico, but said that he will eventually clear his name and continue to bring glory to the country.

“I will focus on training and jumping. My season will start in less than a month. The drama brought about by this witch hunt has taken valuable time, effort, and energy away from my training and preparation,” said Obiena in a lengthy Facebook post on Tuesday night.

“I have a small window to save my season and I do not want to be distracted any further by Philip Juico and the Patafa. They have done enough damage already and I will be at fault if I allow them to cause further harm,” he added.

“I will clear my name in court and I will clear my name in competition. My pole will be my platform. My every jump is my defiance to everything that is wrong in the sport. And an affirmation that the Filipino is tough, enduring, loyal and will stand up for what is right and true.”


Obiena was removed from the national training pool of the Patafa on Tuesday after the organization’s investigative committee concluded its investigation. The Patafa also raised the possibility of Obiena being charged with criminal complaints. Obiena, though, was not at all surprised by these developments and said that he welcomes this as it now gives him the chance to clear his name on a legal platform.

“I am saddened by the decision of the Patafa committee and their recommendations but I am not really surprised. I am relieved that I now finally know what I am being charged with,” Obiena said.

“From the very start, the Patafa proceeding had the look and feel of a witch hunt. My legal team can now go about the business of clearing my name and my family’s name. Righteousness always wins in the end.”

Despite all these troubles, Obiena said he will continue to proudly represent the country.

“I do not jump for Mr. Philip Ella Juico or the Patafa. I jump for my beloved nation,” Obiena said. “This afternoon, the POC (Philippine Olympic Committee)made a statement that I will still carry the flag of the Philippines and represent the country. I thank the POC for doing what is right for the nation and as the National Olympic Committee.”

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