Unbroken Obiena ready to face PATAFA complaint

Joey Villar - Philstar.com

MANILA, Philippines – EJ Obiena on Tuesday said he remained unperturbed and vowed to face head on against the Philippine Athletics and Track and Field Association, which has threatened to drop him from the national team and file an estafa case.

“I will leave everything to my legal team,” said the 26-year-old Tokyo Olympian pole-vaulter in his social media post Tuesday night.

Obiena said he plans to return to training amid the controversy.

“I will focus on training and jumping. My valuable season will start in less than a month,” said Obiena. “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.

Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president Abraham Tolentino said Obiena can still play for flag and country even without the endorsement from the PATAFA.

And the Asian record will make full use of it to prove PATAFA did wrong.

“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,” he said.

“I do not jump for Mr. Philip Ella Juico or the PATAFA, I jump for my beloved nation,” he added.

Meanwhile, national athletes of past and present were divided on the issue with Tokyo Games boxing bronze medalist Eumir Felix Marcial rallying behind Obiena and fellow Olympians Elma Muros-Posadas, Hector Begeo and Isidro del Prado throwing their support to PATAFA.

“I feel that it is only right as a fellow athlete and Olympian that I express my support and collectively ask to show our solidarity with EJ,” said Marcial.

“We have been part of this prestigious association and we cannot allow it to be maligned and destroyed by politics, reckless comments, and flashy social media coverage. We stand by the truth,” said Begeo, Del Prado and Muros-Posadas in the manifesto.





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