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Obiena denies not paying coach, threatens to retire

Legendary pole vault coach Vitaly Petrov on Sunday denied allegations that he has not received any payment from Tokyo Olympian Ernest John Obiena for his services since 2018.

Ernest John Obiena: The only thing I own is my reputation and it (accusation) has damaged my reputation.
 Petrov confirmed this in a letter to the Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association president Philip Ella Juico, a dispatch he wrote after Obiena was accused by the association of falsifying liquidation reports and failing to turn over payment to him.

“I have no complaints against him. Ernest is an outstanding athlete of your country. And my purpose is still to make a world-known athlete of EJ,” said Petrov after he presented his letter during a zoom conference with Filipino scribes Sunday night.

Both Obiena and Petrov denied the accusation from the PATAFA, which recently formed a committee to look into the claim that the pole vaulter’s camp failed to turn over an amount meant for his Ukrainian coach.

In that demand letter, the PATAFA ordered Obiena to return around EUR85,000 (over P4.8 million) in financial assistance given to him by the Philippine Sports Commission through the athletics’ association.

Obiena said he has been hurt by the accusations and the probe being done by a five-man committee, headed by Felix Tiukinhoy.

“The only thing I own is my reputation and it has damaged my reputation,” said Obiena, who is now contemplating of retiring from the sport.

The 24-year-old Obiena said he has filed complaints before the Philippine Olympic Committee, the International Olympic Committee and World Athletics over this matter, adding that he has intentions to pursue legal action for the matter.

Obiena has also asked the PATAFA to withdraw the investigation on its accusations and issue a public apology.

The 6’2” Obiena added that he is now considering the option of immediate retirement from the sport “that I love the most.”

For now, Obiena feels that the accusations have affected his preparations and training for future international events.

“As much as I believe that there’s more to me to achieve, I’m also evaluating myself in a way that I may or may not disclose. I will not continue to operate under this kind of situation. I am unable to focus and train properly with this hanging on my head,” said Obiena.

Obiena said he is not an accountant, so he has asked an auditing firm, Price Waterhouse Cooper to take care of his financial paperworks.

The other day, Juico sent Obiena a dispatch, demanding Obiena to return to the Philippine Sports Commission and the PATAFA the amount which represents coaches’ fees that the association said was not paid to Petrov.

Topics: Vitaly Petrov , Ernest John Obiena , Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association , Philip Ella Juico
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