National athletes, whatever country they are from always bring pride to their own homeland.

/ 28 November 2021

Let’s talk about Ej Obiena, the man behind the vault whose name always ring in our ears that brought pride to the Philippines after winning countless medals marked by his Spongebob and Patrick socks is now being pushed at the end of the road after being in the hot issue against Patafa which left many of us to wonder, who is telling the truth?

For the last few days, it has been the talk of the town how the Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association (Patafa) slammed Obiena with the alleged embezzlement of training funds and not paying his coach Vitaly Petrov on time since 2018 which the rising star flatly denied the same.

And honestly, I find the sequence of events amusing as different sides tell a different side of the story which offers food for our thoughts. Patafa claimed that the coach Petrov is the one who went to them, noting for not having received his salaries just to be denied after Obiena’s denial statement and explaining that he was able to pay his coach but not on a regular basis.

While it is true that Obiena was not able to pay on time, another issue that popped out is the fact that the pride of the country whom supposed to be focusing on his training also hustled the burden of budgeting and giving the salaries to his coach in which Obiena claimed that Patafa passed their job and responsibility to this athlete.

And not siding or anything, but only I can imagine how hard it is to try balancing your life and the training in preparation for the upcoming big tournaments. Just imagine the pressure Obiena had at that time. And you will tell me that even the budgeting and payment for the coaching staff must also be done by him? Is this how you show support to someone who brings pride to the country? I hope not.

I get where Obiena was coming from, after all, he admitted himself that before the issue blew up, he used to be someone who’s penned as an achiever for surpassing his own records in the pole vault but is now involved in a series of issues. 

And this left the athlete to wither, which many of us do not have any idea of how he will do it?  Will he be truly realizing his own statements to retire or to vault for other countries after ‘multiple’ passport offers from other countries as what Obiena’s mentor, Jim Lafferty, shared?

At the end of the day, whatever side has completely laid out its facts and plastered the loopholes of their stories, one thing is for sure. Nothing will stay the same. 

If Ej was able to win this issue, will he stay for the country, and if so, will he still vault at his very best given the dark issue with his federation? One can only tell.