EJ Obiena formally reinstated to Philippine national team
MANILA, Philippines–Pole vaulter Ernest John Obiena and his mother federation, the Philippine Athletic Track and Field Association (Patafa) are back in each other’s arms.
The national track and field association announced the welcome development after the majority of the Patafa board members voted on Obiena’s reinstatement to the national team.
According to Patafa executive vice president Willie Torres, the Tokyo Olympian and world championship bronze medalist would be included in the Patafa’s master list along with five other athletes.
The Patafa roster will be received by the Philippine Sports Commission, formalizing Obiena’s re-entry into the national squad.
“We are thankful to the Patafa leadership for taking this step to solidify the strength of our national athletics team,’’ said PSC Officer-in-Charge and Commissioner Olivia “Bong’’ Coo.
Obiena was excluded from the national athletics team early this year following the Italy-based vaulter’s controversial rift with Patafa triggered by claims of unliquidated expenses and non-payment of his Ukrainian coach Vitaly Petrov.
Both parties finally kissed and made up in a lengthy mediation spearheaded by then PSC Chairman William “Butch’’ Ramirez, allowing Obiena to defend his Southeast Asian Games title in Vietnam.
The 26-year-old Obiena is the world’s third-ranked pole vaulter following his podium performance in the World Athletics Championships last month in Eugene, Oregon.
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