Eumir Marcial backs fellow Olympian EJ Obiena in Patafa rift
MANILA, Philippines—Tokyo Olympics bronze medalist Eumir Marcial has thrown his support behind EJ Obiena in the pole vaulter’s ongoing rift with Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association (Patafa).
In a Facebook post, Marcial called the dispute a “wretched fight” and expressed his displeasure over Patafa’s decision to remove Obiena from the national team.
“With the current issue surrounding my fellow Tokyo 2020 Olympian EJ Obiena – Ernest Obiena, 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,” wrote Marcial.
“The decision of the PATAFA committee to remove EJ from the national pool, I feel, was some sort of an invalidation of the efforts and sacrifices that EJ has made to bring honor to our country, something that every athlete can strongly relate to.”
Marcial, who made the podium in men’s middleweight division in boxing, is no stranger in taking on the government with regard to its support to Philippine athletes.
It was in March 2021 that Marcial and the Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines butted heads regarding his training expenses.
Obiena, meanwhile, has been at odds with Patafa president Philip Ella Juico since November with the official eventually removing the pole vaulter from the national team.
The move came after the Philippine Olympic Committee declared Juico as a persona non grata.
“To EJ, know that many of our countrymen are standing beside you in this rather wretched fight. Trust that it will all fall into place and God’s favor will be upon you,” said Marcial.