Pole vault

EJ Obiena doping accuser apologizes for ‘untruthful words’

Jasmine W. Payo

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EJ Obiena doping accuser apologizes for ‘untruthful words’

STAR VAULTER. EJ Obiena eyes greater heights.

EJ Obiena Instagram page

‘This for me closes this matter,’ says EJ Obiena as the wife of former Olympic champion Renaud Lavillenie says sorry for accusing the world No. 2 pole vaulter of doping

MANILA, Philippines – EJ Obiena said he’s ready to “move forward” after Anais Lavillenie, the wife of former Olympic champion Renaud Lavillenie, apologized for accusing the Filipino pole vault star of doping. 

“This for me closes this matter,” said the world No. 2 Obiena in a social media post on Thursday, October 26, that included a signed letter of Anais.

Also a former pole vaulter, Anais said she deeply regrets posting the accusation on the Facebook page of Vaulter Magazine two weeks ago.

“I would like to offer publicly my sincere apologies for writing untruthful words… I made a stupid amalgam that I should never have done and written, I admit, and that’s why I deleted the comment after the fact but the damage was done. I am sincerely sorry,” she wrote in a letter dated October 24.

“I am aware that I have disrespected you and your coach and I deeply regret my act.”

Obiena accepted the apology after vehemently denying the accusations the past weeks, saying he already cleared 34 drug tests conducted by the World Anti-Doping Agency, including 11 this year.

The 27-year-old even submitted himself to two separate lie detector tests – the conventional polygraph method and the EyeDetect, a new test that claims to be more accurate – to prove his point. 

“Normally I would have ignored such noise. But given the source, a former elite pole vaulter and wife of a former Olympic champion and world-record holder, I was compelled to react to aggressively defend myself,” said Obiena.

“I didn’t ask for any of this. But the reality is, the accused is put into an unfortunate position of having to defend themselves against baseless and spurious claims.”

Obiena’s camp had mulled legal action as Anais said the Filipino Olympian will suffer the same fate as Thiago Braz, the Brazilian pole vaulter  who got provisionally suspended for failing a doping test.

Braz, who beat the French Renaud for the gold in the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics, and Obiena are both mentored by Ukrainian coach Vitaly Petrov.

“Obiena doped and it’ll fall like Braz. Same coach, same plan, same objective,” Anais wrote in the now deleted post. 

But Obiena said he’s now ready to put everything behind as he focuses on his buildup for the 2024 Paris Olympics. 

“Let us all be the bigger person and move forward from this,” said Obiena.

“I accept this [apology]. She admits she was wrong and she admits what she did was wrong. This fact, alongside all other facts makes it clear. I am a 100% CLEAN ATHLETE.”  – Rappler.com

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Jasmine W. Payo

Jasmine joined Rappler as its sports editor in 2018 after over a decade of working as a sportswriter for a national broadsheet.