By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña
Despite the Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association’s (PATAFA) exclusion of pole vaulter EJ Obiena from the list of athletes set to compete in the upcoming Southeast Asian Games, the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) on the other hand made moves just to turn things around.
POC president Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino confirmed that they wrote a letter to the World Athletics regarding Obiena’s case and initially included his name as part of the PH pool that will fly to Hanoi, Vietnam.
“It’s both frustrating and disappointing if we don’t see EJ setting a new SEA Games record in Hanoi. Logic plays a major role here for the need to include him in the SEA Games list, this is sports and he’s a national sports pride,” Tolentino said.
Tolentino also confirmed that they are doing the necessary measures just to beat the deadline for Obiena’s inclusion in the master list.
Several days ago, a surprising news came when PATAFA’s released lineup for the SEAG didn’t’ have Obiena’s name.
This is already the second-straight time where PATAFA disregarded Obiena after denying his letter of endorsement to the World Indoors Championship to be held in Belgrade, Serbia.
If Obiena will be making the team, he will have the chance to clinch back-to-back SEAG gold medals and another chance to top his Asian record of 5.93 meters.