Sports

Solon seeks probe into row between Patafa, Obiena


EJ Obiena

Pole vault ace EJ Obiena. (FILE PHOTO)

MANILA, Philippines — A House lawmaker wants an investigation into the alleged harassment by the Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association (Patafa) of Olympian pole vaulter EJ Obiena.

Manila 2nd District Rep. Ronaldo Valeriano filed a resolution amid the row between Patafa and Obiena.

Earlier, Patafa ordered Obiena, who finished 11th in the pole vault competition at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, to return €85,000 (over P4.8 million) to the national sporting association over the alleged falsification of his liquidation reports.

Obiena was also accused of failing to pay his coach Vitaly Petrov.

The Filipino pole vaulter, however, in a press conference over the weekend, denied the allegation that he failed to release the salary of Petrov for services rendered from early 2018 onward.

Petrov also disputed Patafa’s accusations and added that Obiena paid him the €5,000 monthly stipend.

“After Obiena appeared in a press conference with Petrov and denied allegations against him, Patafa changed its accusation from embezzlement to failure to pay the coach’s salary on time,” Valeriano said in his resolution.

“Such accusations of Patafa are tantamount to harassment, an indication of this NSA’s (National Sports Association) failure to promote his welfare, or worse, even a sabotage of the career of a distinguished national athlete,” he added.

According to the lawmaker, national athletes “have long complained of the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) accredited NSAs, engaging in endless politicking; not having sustainable development programs; being heavily dependent on government funding and failing to generate private sector support; lacking communication with the support for athletes; among other issues.”

With this in mind, Valeriano also sought in his resolution a review of the rules and the relationships between the POC, NSA, the Philippine Sports Commission, the athletes, and other stakeholders under the Philippine Sports Commission Law.

/MUF

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