PATAFA resists POC suspension

PATAFA President Philip Juico

The Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association (PATAFA) is standing against its suspension from the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) Executive Board, saying it will continue the programs particularly for its athletes bound for the 31st Southeast Asian Games in Hanoi, Vietnam in May.

The PATAFA Board made this statement in Wednesday’s online press briefing and reiterated they will still uphold what was in the law.

“The board rejects this (suspension) and we’ll merely follow the law that we are the national sports association recognized by the government, that we are recognized by our world governing body, the World Athletics, and that we are affiliated with the International Olympic Committee,” PATAFA president Philip Juico said.

“We’ll continue what we do unless our federation tells us to stop. We are resisting this.”

In part, Juico said they would seek all legal remedies including consulting with the World Athletics what steps are needed to prevent this.

The POC Executive Board suspended PATAFA for 90 days “for failing to serve its purpose as an NSA, particularly its dedication and commitment toward the development of the sport, promoting the ideals of the Olympic Movement and the spirit of sportsmanship.”

This involved PATAFA's ongoing rift with world-class pole vaulter EJ Obiena, whom the NSA refused to endorse in several high-ranking tournaments including the world indoor championships held recently.

If ratified in the General Assembly on March 30, PATAFA will not have any authority over national teams to the SEAG.

This will give the POC direct management of the athletes, coaches and sporting officials, while financial matters will be under the control of the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC).

PATAFA Chairman Rufus Rodriguez said the action of the POC is “premature and arbitrary.”

“There is no hearing. Nothing. The mediation proceedings with the PSC are still ongoing and then they (POC) suspend us,” Rodriguez said.

Athletics has been the country’s source of gold mine, particularly in the SEAG. In the 2019 edition that the country hosted, the PH athletics team won 11 gold, eight silver and eight bronze medals.