OBIENA MULLS LEGAL ACTION AGAINST FALSE DOPING ALLEGATIONS
ERNEST John 'EJ' Obiena, the accomplished Filipino pole vault athlete, expressed his deep frustration and outrage on the evening of October 15th regarding the doping allegations made by Anais Lavillenie, the spouse of Renaud Lavillenie, the 2012 Olympic men's pole vault gold medalist.
ERNEST John ‘EJ’ Obiena, the accomplished Filipino pole vault athlete, expressed his deep frustration and outrage on the evening of October 15th regarding the doping allegations made by Anais Lavillenie, the spouse of Renaud Lavillenie, the 2012 Olympic men’s pole vault gold medalist.
Anais chose to air her accusations against Obiena, currently ranked as the world’s second-best pole vaulter, in the comments section of Vaulter Magazine – Vaulter Club Inc. Facebook page. This transpired when the page shared an article from The Manila Times, which featured Obiena’s belief in his ability to surpass the world’s number one pole vaulter, Armand Duplantis.
In response to a comment by Lynn Lazar, who remarked, ‘Well, you have to believe to achieve. So he’s on the right track at least. Realistically? Anything is possible,’ Anais fired back, alleging that ‘Obiena doped and it’ll fall like Braz. Same coach, same plan, same objective!’
Although Anais has since removed her comment, Obiena, along with his supporters, managed to capture a screenshot of her statement, which he included in his post addressing the issue.
In his response, Obiena maintained his composure and dignity on the matter, stating, “I want to remain classy and dignified on this subject. All I will say is I am disappointed, angry, and feel wronged by these statements. I will let the story evolve while my team explores the many angles, including legal. I guess this is part of the price you pay when you win.”
The “Braz” that Anais referred to appears to be the Brazilian pole vaulter Thiago Braz, who secured the 2016 Olympic men’s pole vault gold medal but was suspended in July for testing positive for ostarine. Ostarine is classified as an investigational drug by the US FDA and is banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). Anais also mentioned the ‘same coach,’ Ukrainian legend Vitaly Petrov, who coaches both Braz and Obiena.
Comments from fans in response to the same Facebook post called out Anais for her baseless accusations, some labeling her as bitter.
“Why delete your comment? You must face the consequences of your own stupidity,” wrote one commenter, Jan Vicon.
“Anais Lavillenie is just really bitter because a pole vaulter outside the US and Europe is succeeding and has shown improvement over time. You’re not expressing concern; you’re expressing your desire for someone’s failure,” wrote another commenter, Jericho Bullecer.
A commenter named Ameera Goma highlighted the repercussions of Anais’ comment being picked up by national news in their country and urged her to issue an apology and learn from her mistake before accusing any national athlete of cheating without factual basis.
Obiena’s ascent in the world of pole vault has been remarkable. Since finishing 11th at the Tokyo Olympics, he has climbed from the sixth position in July 2021 to the second spot in the men’s pole vault world rankings as of October 2023. Notably, he set an Asian record of 6.0 meters in the Bergen Jump Challenge in Norway in June, earning a gold medal. Two months later, he replicated the feat at the World Championships in Budapest, securing a silver medal, which was a historic achievement for his country.
Obiena, who turns 28 in November, has also consistently performed well throughout the outdoor season, securing a spot on the podium in 15 out of the 16 tournaments he entered. His crowning achievement during this season was his victory in the Asian Games in Hangzhou, China, where he established a new meet record of 5.90 meters.