PATAFA seeks reinstatement of Obiena to national team

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 5) – Filipino pole vault star EJ Obiena is set to be reinstated to the national team, after his illustrious feat of becoming the first Filipino to win a medal in the World Athletics Championships last month.

In a letter addressed to the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC), Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association (PATAFA) president Agapito Capistrano said the national athletics body has reinstated Obiena to its roster.

Capistrano added that with the reinstatement, they are endorsing for Obiena to be "given the same allowances previously extended to him based on his classification as a world class athlete."

"This will further motivate our athletes to perform better in the coming international competitions," Capistrano said in the letter.

PSC officer-in-charge Atty. Guillermo Iroy, Jr. said he has already instructed the concerned offices of the agency to act on the reinstatement of Obiena to the national team.

"I see no problem with the endorsement, EJ deserves to be back in the team," Iroy said.

The Filipino pole vault pride previously got embroiled in a rift with PATAFA after it accused him of allegedly embezzling funds and failing to pay his Ukrainian coach Vitaly Petrov. Obiena denied the allegations and even threatened to retire from playing.

PATAFA removed Obiena from the national team and did not endorse him in his competitions earlier this year due to their dispute.

The two sides settled their issues after a PSC-led mediation in March. Obiena was then allowed by PATAFA to compete in the 31st Southeast Asian Games and the 2022 World Athletics Championship held last month in Oregion, USA--where he bagged the bronze medal.

Obiena cleared 5.94 meters in the competition, which broke his personal, national, and Asian record in outdoor pole vault.

With his achievement, Obiena also soared to his career-best world ranking as the third best pole vaulter in the world.