Filipino boxer Eumir Felix Marcial has thrown his support to fellow Olympian EJ Obiena amid the elite pole vaulter’s ongoing rift with the Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association (PATAFA).

Tokyo Olympians Eumir Marcial and EJ Obiena (AFP)

In a Facebook post Wednesday, Jan. 5, Marcial said this is his way of giving back his support to the embattled Obiena even before the Tokyo Olympics began, where the Zamboanga native boxer saw himself in a pinch for seeking training funds at that time.

“Ngayon ako naman ang susuporta sayo (This time, I will be the one supporting you),” wrote Marcial in the post. “I feel that it is only right as a fellow athlete and Olympian that I express my support and collectively ask to show our solidarity with EJ.”

For Marcial, PATAFA’s decision to drop Obiena, the No. 6 ranked pole vaulter in the world, from the national pool is “some sort of an invalidation of the efforts and sacrifices” that he made as a Filipino athlete.

Marcial also addressed that the situation also affected not only Obiena’s training but also his “time, energy, and resources” in preparation for his upcoming tournaments.

“To EJ, know that many of our countrymen is standing beside you in this rather wretched fight. Trust that it will all fall into place and God’s favor will be upon you,” said the 26-year-old Marcial.

“Mabuhay ka at ang lahat ng atletang Pilipinong lumalaban para mairepresenta at mabigyan ng karapat-dapat na karangalan ang bansa.”

Obiena, through his personal Facebook account, replied and thanked Marcial in the comment section.

Not only the PATAFA recommend Obiena be dropped off the national pool but also prepared to file a criminal complaint for estafa against the elite pole vaulter and a complaint against his Ukrainian coach Vitaly Petrov.

The Philippine Olympic Committee (POC), for its part, remained supportive and continued to rally behind Obiena after declaring Philip Juico, the PATAFA president, as persona non-grata.

The persona non grata tag stemmed from Obiena’s harassment accusations against Juico to which the PATAFA chief defended that the issue is not within the jurisdiction of the POC but an intra-NSA (National Sports Association) dispute.

READ: Former and present PH athletes, coaches rally behind Patafa

Source: Manila Bulletin (