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OBIENA’S ABSENCE IN WORLD INDOORS LAMENTED

The Puwersa ng Bayaning Atleta (PBA) Party-list on Sunday expressed its frustration over star pole vaulter EJ Obiena’s failure to participate in the World Athletics Indoor Championships due to his non-endorsement by the Philippine Athletics and Track and Field Association (PATAFA).

“Tama si EJ. Mas masakit yung alam mong hindi pa nagsisimula ang laban, talo ka na agad dahil hindi ka nabigyan ng pagkakataon na subukan ang iyong galing,” PBA Party-list spokesperson Atty. Migs Nograles said.

The Davaoeña lawyer called on the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) and the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) to look into possible sanctions it could impose on PATAFA chief Phillip Juico over the latter’s refusal to endorse Obiena.

Nograles was referring to the statement of the Tokyo Olympian where he said the Philippines “had the chance to show its greatness” but lost it.

“This isn’t just one missed opportunity. Hindi lang SEA Games sa Vietnam ang ‘di masasalihan ni EJ, kundi pati ang World Indoors sa Serbia,” Nograles lamented.

“This is what happens when sports officials put their egos ahead of the welfare of their own athletes and their country,” she added.

The Davaoeña lawyer called on the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) and the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) to look into possible sanctions it could impose on PATAFA chief Phillip Juico over the latter’s refusal to endorse Obiena.

The PATAFA denied Obiena’s request for endorsement, citing the non-completion of the mediation facilitated by the Philippine Sports Commission that he and the national sports association agreed to take part in.

For months, Obiena and PATAFA had been locked in a dispute over Obiena’s supposed failure to pay his coach Ukrainian Vitaly Petrov on time.

Obiena qualified for the World Indoors after bagged gold in the Orlen Cup in Poland in February, where he cleared a then season-best 5.81 meters.

He is currently ranked fifth in the world.

“I am in prime physical and mental condition. I am ready to be the first Philippine homegrown athlete to compete in the worlds and I am ready to compete and bring home a medal. Now is my time – no, now is our time! But sadly, we will never know,” the star athlete said.

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