Philippine sports

PATAFA blasts POC as Obiena earns Olympic scholarship instead of Knott

Delfin Dioquino
PATAFA blasts POC as Obiena earns Olympic scholarship instead of Knott

RECONCILED. EJ Obiena can now see action in the upcoming Southeast Asian Games after patching things up with PATAFA.

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PATAFA says sprinter Kristina Knott, not pole vaulter EJ Obiena, is its choice for the Olympic Solidarity Scholarship awarded by the International Olympic Committee

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association (PATAFA) slammed the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) for its “flagrant act” of defying the athletics body when it named EJ Obiena as an Olympic scholar.

PATAFA said sprinter Kristina Knott is its choice for the Olympic Solidarity Scholarship awarded by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), which grants select athletes $833 (around P43,000) a month until the 2024 Paris Games, among other benefits.

However, the POC still included Obiena in the list of nominees it sent to the IOC.

Among the nine Filipinos who were given Olympic scholarships, including Olympians Elreen Ando (weightlifting) and Rogen Ladon (boxing), Obiena is the only athlete not endorsed by his national sports association.

“The PATAFA, together with its athletes and coaches, stands firm on its nominee Kristina Knott to benefit from the Olympic Solidarity Scholarship grant,” the association said in a statement.

“Knott’s nomination fulfills the criteria and procedures prescribed under the World Athletics and is aligned with its overall development priorities. Currently, Obiena is not in the PATAFA national training pool, and therefore, does not qualify as a PATAFA nominee.”

PATAFA added its rift with Obiena did not factor in the decision of choosing Knott, saying it had already endorsed the Filipina-American even before the pole vault star faced allegations of falsifying liquidation documents for the salary of his Ukrainian coach Vitaly Petrov.

“To promote gender equity and to widen the opportunities for development and promote equal access to resources among the PATAFA’s 50 athletes,” the PATAFA cited its president Philip Juico for the reasons to nominate Knott for the grant.

“At that time, the Philippine Sports Commission had already approved the PATAFA’s request to grant P10 million for Obiena’s training and preparation for the Paris Olympic 2024.”

“Thus, the nomination of Knott was independent of the rift between the PATAFA and Obiena.”

Knott recently represented the country in the World Athletics Indoor Championships this March as the Philippines’ lone bet, with PATAFA refusing to endorse Obiena for the prestigious meet.

After missing out on his opportunity to contend for a World Indoors medal, Obiena underlined the need to put “country before all else.” – Rappler.com

Delfin Dioquino

Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.