Pole vault star EJ Obiena, who has not received funding since August 2021, faces expulsion from the national team by PATAFA
MANILA, Philippines – Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) President Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino said the organization will help struggling pole vaulter EJ Obiena seek private funding if the Philippine Track and Field Association ( PATAFA) urged his expulsion.
PATAFA initially recommended the Olympian’s immediate expulsion over falsified liquidation documents regarding payments to his Ukrainian coach Vitaly Petrov, but decided to give Obiena two weeks to broadcast his squad.
“It is difficult to create a world class athlete,” Tolentino told the Power and play with Noli Eala program by Radyo Singko in a mixture of Filipino and English. “It may take another 15 to 20 years to create another Obiena. It’s a shame to lose someone like him.
“With that, the only question is who will finance him from day 1 so that he loses his allowances until his training and international competitions. This is where the POC comes in. Certainly, we will seek private funding for this.
Obiena said he had not received funding since August last year, just after placing 11th at the Tokyo Olympics as the only Asian to reach the final.
But even without funding, the 26-year-old managed to clinch a silver medal at the Paris Diamond League in August and set a new Asian record after winning gold at the Golden Roof Challenge in Austria in September.
Obiena is currently in 5th place in the world ranking.
Tolentino said that even though Obiena was not recognized by PATAFA, he would continue to represent the Philippines if he so wished, citing the charter of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
Rule 27 of the charter states that the National Olympic Committees “have the exclusive authority to represent their respective countries at the Olympic Games and at regional, continental or world multisport competitions sponsored by the IOC”.
“We send the list of delegates. Yes, it is offered by the [national sports association], but we have the last laugh, ”said Tolentino. – Rappler.com