Photo from EJ Obiena’s Facebook page

Olympian pole vaulter EJ Obiena vows he would still compete for the country despite Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association (Patafa) administrative committee’s recommendation to drop him out of the national team.

In a lengthy social media post late Tuesday, Obiena said he is not jumping for Patafa and its president Philip Juico but for the nation.

“Ako ay atletang Pilipino. Tumatalon ako para sa Pilipinas at sa lahat ng aking kababayan,” Obiena wrote.

The 26-year-old added he will fight the truth through his performances in competitions.

“I will clear my name in court and I will clear my name in competition. My pole will be my platform. My every jump is my defiance to everything that is wrong in the sport. And an affirmation that the Filipino is tough, enduring, loyal and will stand up for what is right and true,” he said.

Obiena’s statement came a few hours after the Patafa administrative committee recommended for his expulsion from the national team, the filing of estafa case against him and the sacking of his Ukrainian coach Vitaly Petrov.

The decision was based on evidence reports from Patafa’s investigative committee that Obiena misappropriated government funds intended for Petrov and falsified liquidation documents.

Obiena has long denied the allegations and said he is leaving everything to his legal team regarding this matter to focus on his training and competition.

“My season will start in less than a month. The drama brought about by this witch-hunt has taken valuable time, effort and energy away from my training and preparation. I have a small window to save my season and I do not want to be distracted any further by Philip Juico and the Patafa,” he said.

“They have done enough damage already and I will be at fault if I allow them to cause further harm.”

The Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) has already thrown its support to Obiena’s cause and assured that the world No. 6 pole vaulter can compete in major competition despite Patafa’s recommendation to ax him from the national squad.

Obiena is currently the country’s top pole vaulter, holding the national and Asian record of 5.93 meters. He also finished tied for 11th and was the only Asian in the final of the Tokyo Olympics.

Source: Manila Bulletin (