EJ Obiena still has chance to defend SEA Games title
MANILA, Philippines—All is not lost for pole vaulter Ernest John Obiena’s bid to defend his title in the coming 31st Southeast Asian Games.
With the deadline of submission for the country’s athlete headcount scheduled by Vietnam organizers on Saturday, there’s still a ray of hope that the world’s No. 5 vaulter can make the trip to Hanoi barely two months from now.
Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association national training director Renato Unso clarified, however, that it would all depend on the outcome of the ongoing mediation between Obiena and national track federation.
The mediation process being brokered by the Philippine Sports Commission has been going on for quite some time but both parties have yet to reach an agreement.
A source intimated to the Inquirer that Obiena would be included in the Patafa lineup to the SEA Games once the Tokyo Olympian complies with the conditions set by the Patafa.
The same source declined to reveal the conditions of the Patafa pending the outcome of the mediation.
Unso believes that Obiena’s compliance with Patafa will open the doors for the Asian record-holder and SEA Games champion to participate in the Vietnam biennial meet on May 12-23 as well as in the World Athletics Championships in Eugene, Oregon in July and the Asian Games in Hangzhou, China in September.
Without the endorsement of the Patafa, Obiena was forced to skip the world indoor championships in Belgrade, Serbia on March 18-20 after he missed the final day of registration on Monday.