POC defers Patafa suspension, ratifies Philta ban
MANILA, Philippines–In keeping with the spirit of sportsmanship, the Philippine Olympic Committee has pardoned the Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association from being dropped from the rolls, but didn’t spare the Philippine Tennis Association from suspension.
The POC General Assembly brought the axe down on the local tennis federation on Wednesday, upholding its executive board’s decision that will suspend Philta for 90 days after failing to comply with the directive of the International Tennis Federation.
A total of 42 national sports associations out of the 55 voting members ratified Philta’s suspension triggered by its non-compliance to an ITF instruction to amend the association’s charter and hold an inclusive election of officers.
While Philta officials will scramble to put their house in order, the track and field association got a reprieve following the positive and near conclusion of the long-standing feud between Patafa and pole vaulter Ernest John Obiena.
“In the spirit of sportsmanship and because of the Lenten season, I deferred the move to suspend the Patafa as decided by the POC Executive board,’’ said POC president Rep. Abraham “Bambol’’ Tolentino after the hybrid GA held at the Grandmaster Hotel in Tagaytay City.
“And because of the unfinished mediation procedure between the Patafa and EJ Obiena, a vote to suspend the athletics federation wasn’t offered to the GA,’’ added the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives representing the eighth district of Cavite.
Tolentino made it clear, however, that deferring the motion to suspend Patafa would be on the agenda in next month’s general assembly.
“If the Patafa doesn’t endorse EJ in the next GA, the suspension will be decided on the floor,’’ said Tolentino.
The POC Executive Board initially decided to suspend the local athletics body for 90 days triggered by Obiena’s controversial issues with the Patafa, which refused to endorse the Tokyo Olympian and world No. 5 vaulter to four major international meets this year.
“For EJ’s smooth participation in the Vietnam SEA Games, the Patafa should be endorsing his participation,’’ said Tolentino.
The next POC GA is scheduled last week of April, just two weeks prior to the SEA Games in Hanoi, Vietnam. As for the Asian Games in September, the deadline for the submission of entries by name is set May 31.
Due to their rift, the Asian record-holder missed the world indoor championships in Belgrade, Serbia early this month.
The Patafa likewise turned down Obiena’s request for endorsement in the World Athletics Championships in Eugene, Oregon in July and the Asian Games in Hangzhou, China.
Philippine Sports Commission Chairman William “Butch’’ Ramirez announced that Obiena and Patafa president Philip Ella Juico could be smoking the peace pipe soon with another round of mediation to be facilitated by the PSC scheduled on Friday.
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