Patafa cuts ties with pole vaulter EJ Obiena
MANILA, Philippines—The Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association said it is cutting ties with Olympian pole vaulter EJ Obiena.
In a joint statement from Patafa Chairman Rufus Rodriguez and President Philip Ella Juico, Patafa said it is dropping all support for Obiena as the pole vaulter already receives the necessary help from private backers.
“The Patafa moves on,” said Juico and Rodriguez in the statement. “With respect to Mr. Ernest John Obiena, he has chosen to remove himself from the jurisdiction of Patafa.”
“He decided to align, work with and avail himself of total support purportedly guaranteed by his patrons, agents, and political backers. They are expected to support his training, maintenance, medical needs, and compliance with requirements of tournament organizers.”
Obiena and his camp refused the Philippine Sports Commission’s three mediation offers while the Philippine Olympic Committee decided to declare Juico as persona non grata over what the Olympic body described as harassment towards the pole vaulter.
“We tried to talk to him and settle issues with him three times and made ourselves available for PSC’s mediation offers. But he spurred all these efforts even saying we were entering the mediation in bad faith. He took a different path, preferring to do things his way which we will respect.”
Patafa added that it has concluded its internal investigation regarding Juico’s feud with Obiena while the Commission on Audit is working on the transactions between the Tokyo Olympian and the national sports association.
With Obiena removing himself from its system, Patafa said that it will focus solely on its athletes who will compete in the 2021 Southeast Asian Games in Hanoi, Vietnam and the 2022 Asian Games in Zhejiang, China.
POC, meanwhile, vowed to ensure Obiena’s participation in both the events this year if Patafa refuses to endorse him.
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