EJ Obiena and his coach Vitaly Petrov denied the allegations of the Philippine Track and Field Association (PATAFA) that the camp falsified documents and provided evidence to the contrary in a virtual presser on Sunday.
In a report by the Philippine Daily Inquirer, PATAFA told Obiena to return the financial assistance they have given the latter, amounting to € 85,000 (P4,844,829.65). They claimed Obiena “falsified the liquidations submitted.”
In a letter addressed to Obiena, the federation claimed that “based on the written statements of Mr. Sergey Bubka and Mr. Vitaly Petrov, including the documents you have submitted to the Patafa, it appears that you falsified the liquidations submitted to the Patafa and failed to pay the coaching fees of Mr. Vitaly Petrov in the total amount of Eighty-Five Thousand Euros (€85,000).”
However, on Sunday, Petrov himself denied the claims.
“I have been paid in full. I have no problem with EJ Obiena.”
For his part, Obiena acknowledged and said that he had received the letters from PATAFA. And he also showed the members of the media a copy of a letter of Petrov to the NSA, particularly its president, Philip Juico, regarding the matter.
The letter said, “I [Petrov] am glad that we had the conversation between you [Juico], me, and Sergey [Bubka] and finally made contact with each other. Of course, we must do it at the very beginning and maybe we shall not have such [an] incident.”
Petrov reiterated in the letter his gratitude to PATAFA for the financial help and confirmed that Obiena has indeed paid him the “full sum beginning 2018 till now.” He also noted that Obiena is a great athlete, and he intends to coach him and train him for another possible stint in the Olympics in Paris in 2024.
The letter also included attachments that proves such payments took place.
Obiena also revealed that they are starting the legal process of filing a case to the Philippine Olympic Committee, the International Olympic Committee, and the World Athletics, against PATAFA for such allegations.
Despite the accusations, Obiena still would not take it against Filipinos in general.
“I don’t take this as a betrayal of my country. I love my country.”