An undisclosed amount of money has been prepared by the Philippine Sports Commission for world no. 6 pole vaulter EJ Obiena, who is now in Germany to seek treatment for a minor knee injury.
In an appearance at the PSA Forum’s online edition, PSC chairman William Ramirez said the government sports body has approved Obiena’s request for humanitarian reasons.
“EJ Obiena needs help for his medical procedure. We approved an amount to take care of his surgery,” said Ramirez during Tuesday’s weekly online PSA Forum.
He also announced in the forum that the PSC is also working on awarding him the cash incentive for setting a new Asian record of 5.93 meters in ruling the Golden Roof Challenge in September 2021, eclipsing the 29-year-old mark of Kazakhstan’s Igor Potapovich set in Dijon, France in 1992.
Ramirez disclosed that Patafa Chairman, Deputy House Speaker Rufus Rodriguez has signified that they were willing to certify Obiena’s request so that the athlete can receive the money directly as soon as possible.
“We are thankful to Deputy Speaker Rodriguez in agreeing to our request on certification regarding the financial assistance to Obiena. In these extraordinary times, we are willing to bypass normal procedure,” he said in the program backed by the Philippine Amusements and Gaming Corp., San Miguel Corp., Milo, Amelie Hotel, Braska Restaurant and with Prime Edge as its new webcast and social media partner.
Obiena hurt his knee again during training and was diagnosed by doctors with a “small meniscus tear.”
He has asked for assistance through one of his main supporters in James Lafferty.
The setback came as Obiena continues with his plan to compete at the Init Indoor Meeting in Karlsruhe, Germany, on Jan. 28.
The minor operation will be done at the Southwest German Center for Sports Traumatology in Stuttgart, according to Lafferty in a statement on Twitter.
According to reports, Dr. Dimitr-Alexander Jontschew, a recognized specialist in orthopedic surgery and medical director of the facility will perform the procedure.
National Training Director Marc Velasco is coordinating with Dr. Randy Molo of the Philippine Center for Sports Medicine to help find ways to get in touch with Obiena.
Ramirez bared that the process of mediation between Obiena and the PATAFA has started, and with help coming from the Philippine Dispute Resolutions Center, Inc, through executive director Arleo Magtibay Jr. and Edmund Tan.
“We will resolve this dispute with compromises. Mediation is not easy. It is difficult and even treacherous,” said Ramirez.
Obiena and his mother federation have been at odds over the pole vaulter’s liquidation documents. But a meeting between all parties concerned is expect to happen soon.
Ramirez stressed that “mediation is the only option” to all the parties involved, which is why that he had tapped the help of the Philippine Dispute Resolution Center, Inc. led by President Atty. Edmundo Tan and Executive Director Arlee Matibay Jr. in settling the dispute.
“Should all parties agree, I, PSC executive director Atty. Guillermo Iroy Jr. and the PDRCI hope to resolve this dispute,” Ramirez said, warning that failure to do so might have a detrimental effect on the P515 million it had received from Congress for the international meets of athletes this year.
“We are grateful to Congress, especially to our senators who agreed to allot P515 million to the PSC for international competition such as the Vietnam Southeast Asian Games and Asian Games. But if this conflict is not solve we might give this up and asked the Office of the President to give it elsewhere,” he said.
“We spending billions on our athletes and yet we are still in a pandemic and millions of Filipinos without food and shelter because of Typhoon Odette. I will tell the Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea to give the money to those in need and concentrate on grassroots sport that we have overlooked,” Ramirez said.
“Just as what we did in the (2018) Asian Games, (2019) Southeast Asian Games and (2021) Olympic Games, we let us all start and find a peaceful resolution to this issue together since I cannot do this alone,” he reiterated.