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EJ Obiena mulls retirement from PH team

EJ Obiena did not mince his words after the Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association made the accusation that he did not pay his coach Vitaly Petrov and that he falsified liquidation documents.

“If the objective of the sports federation is to destroy and demoralize an athlete, and undermine their performances, then this is a textbook example of how to do this.”

A report from the Philippine Daily Inquirer early Sunday furnished an order from the National Sports Association for the 26-year-old – who has been in Italy since last year – to return € 85,000 (P4,844,829.65) of financial assistance to his training.

The amount was said to be for Vitaly Petrov. Petrov went on record to say that Obiena was never a delinquent client.

And for the long-time national team athlete, he thinks that this was PATAFA’s way of tarnishing his legacy.

“All I can say, with documented evidence, is that these rumors are 100-percent false and represent nothing more than character assassination,” said Obiena, who competed in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

“I have prided myself in embracing the values of discipline, competitiveness, honor, transparency, and respect. This doesn’t change even in times of crisis.”

For years, Obiena has brought pride to the country.

Besides breaking numerous national records and competing in the Olympics, the 6-foot-2 pole vaulter has won golds in the Asian Athletics Championships, the Universiade, and the Southeast Asian Games.

That is why if PATAFA does not clear his name, Obiena said that he will quit the national team.

After all, the NSA has also stopped giving him support in the wake of this scandal.

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“The only resolution to this situation now is a full and public withdrawal of the investigation and a full public apology from the authorities involved in this,” he said.

“If this does not happen, I will consider my other options, being an immediate retirement from the sport in the Philippines and a return to school, as much as I believe that there is more for me to achieve.

“I will not continue to operate under this kind of situation. I am unable to focus and to train properly with this hanging over my head,” he closed.

Grew to appreciate various sports from tennis to judo. True-maroon kiddo since the new millennium. Fanboy. Singer. Occasional sports writer.

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