PATAFA blasts POC for naming Obiena as Olympic scholar

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 26 2022 05:16 PM

The Philippines' Ernest John Obiena competes in the men's pole vault final during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo on August 3, 2021. Ben Stansall, AFP/file
The Philippines' Ernest John Obiena competes in the men's pole vault final during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo on August 3, 2021. Ben Stansall, AFP/file

The Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association (PATAFA) criticized the Philippine Olympics Committee (POC) for taking over PATAFA's function by naming EJ Obiena as an Olympic scholar instead of sprinter Kristina Knott.

PATAFA called POC's action naming Obiena as the Athletics sport Olympics scholar for the next three years a "flagrant act."

"The PATAFA nominated sprinter Kristina Knott as its athlete of choice to benefit from the IOC (International Olympic Committee) grant. The grant aims to support athletes preparing for the Paris Olympic Games 2024,"
PATAFA said in a statement.

PATAFA is currently locked in a funding dispute with Obiena, Asia's top pole vaulter.

It later removed Obiena from the association's training pool.

The POC, however, suspended PATAFA for 90 days after it failed to settle its differences with the Olympic pole vaulter.

However, PATAFA remained firm that Knott should get the scholarship grant instead of Obiena.

"The PATAFA, together with its athletes and coaches, stands firm on its nominee Kristina Knott to benefit from the Olympic Solidarity Scholarship Grant. Knott’s nomination fulfills the criteria and procedures prescribed under the World Athletics and is aligned with its overall development priorities," the national sports association said.

"The PATAFA’s endorsement of Knott had long been decided upon, even before the case of Obiena’s alleged nonpayment of his Ukrainian coach Vitaly Petrov’s salary came out in the open."

PAFATA chief Philip Ella Juico claimed there are a number of reasons to endorse Knott as Athletics’ beneficiary: "To promote gender equity, and to widen the opportunities for development and promote equal access to resources among the PATAFA’s 50 athletes."

"At that time the Philippine Sports Commission had already approved the PATAFA’s request to grant P10 million for Obiena’s training and preparation for the Paris Olympic 2024. Thus, the nomination of Knott was independent of the rift between the PATAFA and Obiena," said PATAFA.