Philippine sports

Obiena, PATAFA reconcile after PSC mediation

Jasmine W. Payo

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Obiena, PATAFA reconcile after PSC mediation

ELITE. EJ Obiena is the current Asian pole vault record holder.

Aleksandra Szmigiel/REUTERS

The reconciliation paves the way for PATAFA to endorse pole vault star EJ Obiena to the SEA Games and the World Outdoor Athletics

MANILA, Philippines – World No. 5 pole vaulter EJ Obiena will represent the Philippines again in the international stage.

After a much publicized rift, Obiena and the Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association (PATAFA) finally “agreed to a settlement,” the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) announced on Wednesday, March 30.

The reconciliation paved the way for PATAFA to endorse Obiena to the 2022 Southeast Asian Games and the 2022 World Outdoor Athletics. 

PSC chairman William “Butch” Ramirez said in a statement that both parties “have assured each other of forgiveness, to start anew and move on.”

The months-long row stemmed from PATAFA’s allegations that Obiena, Asia’s pole vault record holder, falsified liquidation documents for the salary of his Ukrainian coach Vitaly Petrov. The pole vault star vehemently denied the accusations.

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Ramirez said “humility really played a big part” in the mediation process that reached a resolution in the fifth session on Wednesday.  

The parties “met in a private virtual room for discussion,” the statement said, and Ramirez “served as the sole mediator in the proceedings.”

Obiena “expressed his apologies” to PATAFA officials led by president Philip Ella Juico and his national teammates. 

PATAFA also agreed to endorse Obiena to other competitions, which “will be subject to the usual rules and regulations” of the national association.

Just last week, Obiena rued his absence in the World Athletics Indoor Championships in Serbia as his season-best score of 5.91 meters could have won him at least a bronze medal. 

The Olympian missed the biennial showpiece as PATAFA had refused to endorse him.

No other mediation details will be disclosed, the PSC said, as all discussion will remain “confidential as agreed by all parties.”


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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.