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POC prexy lauds Obiena for showing dedication amid PATAFA issue

Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) President Rep. Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino congratulated Ernest John “EJ” Obiena for his gold medal-winning performance at the Orlen Cup in Lodz, Poland on Saturday.

“EJ is a true athlete and his performance in Poland is testament to his love, dedication, and passion for his sport—despite the issues he’s been going through outside of the playing field,” Tolentino said.

Obiena has been competing sans support from his mother association, the Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association (PATAFA).

Financial support from the Philippine Sports Commission through the PATAFA remains pending because of the ongoing rift between the Asian men’s pole vault record holder and the national sports association.

Still, Obiena continues to deliver.

Obiena cleared 5.81 meters to bag the gold medal, beating Brazil’s Thiago Braz, the Rio de Janeiro Olympics champion, and Poland’s Piotr Lisek, who claimed silver and bronze, respectively, with similar 5.71-meter efforts.

“EJ displayed pure focus in winning the gold medal, his first for the season,” Tolentino added.

Obiena had surgery to fix his right knee in January and returned to action at the ISTAF Indoor Berlin and Beijer Pole Vault Gala in Sweden where he did 5.70 meters for a fourth- and eighth-place finish, respectively.

He will again compete at the Meeting Hauts-De-France in Lievin, France on Thursday.

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