Sat. May 28th, 2022

The Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) executive board on Thursday has had enough of the antics of the Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association (PATAFA) over its spat with world-class pole vaulter Ernest John “EJ” Obiena and suspended the group for 90 days.


POC president Bambol Tolentino said that the POC suspended PATAFA because it failed to serve its purpose as a national sports association (NSA), or it must have “the dedication and commitment toward the development of the sport, promoting the ideals of the Olympic Movement and the spirit of sportsmanship.”

“Our constitution states that POC may suspend for any reason. However, it’s transparent that PATAFA has deliberately and intentionally disregarded our basic principles of promoting sports and development,” Tolentino said.

He added the group did fulfill its missions by not endorsing Obiena for the World Indoor Championships in Belgrade, Serbia scheduled for March 18 to 20 and the Hanoi Southeast Asian Games set from May 12 to 23.

PATAFA has kept firm on its position that it will not endorse Obiena for international competitions including the World Athletics Championships and the Asian Games as the Olympian is undergoing a mediation process involving PATAFA itself.

“Unfortunately, the non-endorsement of EJ has created a national issue. EJ Obiena, under our International Olympic Committee Charter, has two reasons to be endorsed—sports merit and inspiration to the youth,” said Tolentino.

Tolentino said that even if Obiena tried to settle matter with PATAFA, he said the group “prioritized its pride, and it saddens [me] to look closely at a chance slowly gripping away. They have withheld an opportunity for the Filipino people to have another world record.”

The POC’s 90-day suspension order over PATAFA will take effect upon its ratification by its General Assembly during its regular meeting on March 30. Once it take effect, PATAFA, headed by Philip Ella Juico, will have no jurisdiction over the Philippine team that will compete in the Southeast Asian Games.

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