Under fire for its long-running rift with pole vaulter Ernest John Obiena, the Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association (Patafa) will seek the counsel of World Athletics and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) following its suspension from the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC).
The POC executive board dropped the Patafa from the rolls of the local Olympic body a week ago primarily due to the association’s falling out with Obiena, the No. 5 vaulter in the world and current Asian record-holder.
“The [Patafa] board rejects this and we will follow the law which says that we are recognized by the government and the group authorized to form national teams and endorse athletes,’’ said Patafa president Philip Ella Juico during Patafa’s virtual media gathering on Wednesday.
The Patafa will be facing a 90-day suspension once the POC general assembly ratifies the motion of the executive board on March 30.
POC president Rep. Abraham “Bambol’’ Tolentino explained that Patafa deliberately disregarded the basic principles of promoting sports and development.
Tolentino added that the nonendorsement of Obiena has created a national issue after the Patafa decided not to include the reigning Southeast Asian (SEA) Games men’s pole vault champion on its official roster for the coming SEA Games in Hanoi, Vietnam.
In danger of contempt
Four senators have also pushed to cite the board members of the Patafa in contempt for “disobeying’’ the Senate order to settle its differences with Obiena.
Reports have it that the Senate Committee on Sports chaired by Sen. Christopher “Bong’’ Go issued a show-cause order to the Patafa board of directors, asking them to explain why they should not be cited for contempt for derailing mediation efforts earlier agreed on by both parties.
The POC executive board has issued a resolution that would immediately lift the suspension once the Patafa and Obiena patch things up.
Patafa will be stripped of its authority over the national track and field team to the SEA Games the moment the suspension has been ratified by the general assembly of NSAs (national sports associations).
“We will seek all legal remedies and we will consult the IOC and World Athletics. We are getting the support of our coaches and athletes in Patafa, our regional directors and a number of NSAs who have expressed disagreement with this action,’’ said Juico.
Obiena’s status in the national team has been put on hold pending his ongoing mediation with the Patafa being facilitated by the Philippine Sports Commission.
The Tokyo Olympian already missed the world indoor championship in Belgrade, Serbia, over the weekend and could skip more tournaments, including the world championship in Oregon come July and the Asian Games in China in September, if both parties fail to reach an agreement.
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