Coach Vitaly Petrov rebuked the allegations against EJ Obiena while taking back all his previous statements as Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association (PATAFA) president Philip Ella Juico was pressuring him.

/ 2 December 2021

In a statement shared on Wednesday to the Inquirer, Petrov said and reiterated that he received all the necessary payments from coaching and assisting Obiena.

Petrov said that all the conflict and allegations faced by the rank 5 in the world ranking, Obiena was only a product of a ‘witch hunt’ of PATAFA against the vaulter.

“First, I have been fully paid by EJ Obiena. Secondly, I have no issue with EJ Obiena. Thirdly, I never have reached out to Patafa, and I never initiated any complaint against EJ Obiena. Fourth, I was misled by the provocative questioning of Philip Ella Juico and I mistakenly answered his questionnaire according to the way that he wanted me to which is to make EJ Obiena look like a criminal…”

Petrov also wished that this would be his last statement for there are other athletes who need him.

“Lastly, hereby formally withdrawal any prior statements or documents associated to me. This is the only document that may be attributed to myself. I have athletes who need me. I do not have more time to waste on this proverbial ‘witch hunt,’ said Petrov.

PATAFA claimed that Petrov did not receive any compensation which was backed up by an affidavit from Sergey Bubka; however, Petrov is now saying that he was ‘pressured’ to put Obiena in bad lighting.

“I have never proactively complained to anyone on EJ and payments, specifically never to Patafa or to any Philippines sports official. What has happened is I have been directly approached by Philip Ella Juico and heavily questioned, alongside my former athlete Sergei Bubka, in a manner which confused me and I felt pressured to answer in a way that they wanted me to answer,” said Petrov.

While the Ukrainian coach admitted that he was paid in full, and “slightly more” of the 85,000 euros from the period of 2019 to present, he thought that bowing to PATAFA would help Obiena lift his burden.

“I answered it in a way because I honestly thought it would help unburden EJ of this unnecessary role of managing my payments and that he could fully focus on training. I never could have imagined it would be used in this way it is used now as a weapon to destroy a promising career,” said Petrov.