Thu. May 26th, 2022

Chairman of the Senate Committee on Sports Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go, who has been repeatedly urging the resolution of the deadlock between the Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association (Patafa) and pole vaulter Ernest John “EJ” Obiena, thanks both parties for ending their dispute.

Last March 30, the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) declared that Obiena and Patafa finally agreed to settle their differences. Shortly after, Patafa endorsed Obiena’s participation in the 2022 World Outdoor Athletics tournament and the 2022 Southeast Asian Games (SEAG).

The association had alleged Obiena misused the funds meant to pay his coach, a claim that the athlete has denied. The row worsened after Patafa dropped Obiena from its training pool, cutting off all financial aid to him. The PSC was forced to step in.

Both parties “have assured each other of forgiveness, to start afresh and move on,” PSC Chairman William Ramirez said in a statement. “I commend and thank the PSC, Patafa and EJ Obiena for finally resolving the issues,” Go said in a statement on Saturday.

Bong Go saying “Sports must unite all Filipinos, not divide them,” added Obiena can now focus on defending his title at the SEAG in Vietnam in May. Patafa, meanwhile, can concentrate on its programs to promote the welfare of Filipino athletes.

“That’s why I appeal to all to set aside personal interest and resolve any misunderstanding for the sake of the country that we were representing in every [international] competition,” Go said.

He emphasized that politics should not get in the way of the country’s sports development and the welfare of athletes. “Unity among and full support from the Filipino people are essential, especially in sports, where the pride and glory of the country are at stake.”

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