Ang Filipino Olympian na si EJ Obiena ay nagbantang magreretiro mula sa paglalaro ng pole vault matapos magkaroon ng isyu sa pagitan niya at ng Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association (Patafa).
Sa isang virtual press conference noong Linggo (November 21), sinabi ni Obiena na handa siyang magretiro at bumalik sa pag-aaral. Ito ay matapos siyang akusahan ng Patafa ng pandaraya sa kanyang liquidation reports at pagkabigong bayaran ang kanyang coach na si Vitaly Petrov ng monthly stipend.
Ayon pa kay Obiena, sinira ng Patafa ang kanyang reputasyon bilang atleta at nais niyang i-urong ng mga ito ang kanilang paratang at maglabas ng public apology.
“The only resolution to this now, is a full and public withdrawal of investigation, and a full public apology from the authorities involved in this,” ang pahayag ni Obiena.
“If this does not happen, I will consider my other options, being an immediate retirement from the sport that I love in the Philippines, and probably return to school. As much as I believe, there is more for me to achieve, I am also evaluating other options in the field of sports, which I may or may not disclose in a later date,” ang dagdag niya.
Ang Tokyo Olympian ay kasalukuyang nag-aaral ng Electrical Engineering sa Unibersidad ng Santo Tomas. Nagsampa siya ng legal complaints sa Philippine Olympic Committee (POC), International Olympic Committee (IOC), at ng World Athletics laban sa Patafa.
“I admit some of my liquidation paperwork was submitted late and sometimes in a sloppy fashion. I am a pole vaulter not a corporate accountant. I am alone in trying to handle all this in a foreign country,” ang paliwanag ni Obiena.
Samantala, makikitang kasama ni Obiena si Petrov sa press conference na pinasinungalingan ang alegasyon ng Patafa na hindi siya nabayaran ng Pinoy Olympian.
“I have requested many times for my coaches to be paid directly, I have no desire to play middleman, but this has been refused. I have not always handled the paperwork well, and I’m very sorry for this. But to take this fact and suddenly construe false accusation of theft and embezzlement is beyond honest principle. It’s a disgusting abuse of power, and it is in itself a criminal activity called slander and defamation of character,” ang sinabi ni Obiena.
“I will publish this audit in a public domain for all to see; it will show that every single centavo is accounted for all was paid by myself. I welcome a bright light shining in this situation, because I have nothing to hide,” ang dagdag niya.