PATAFA bemoans Obiena nomination for IOC grant

PATAFA president Philip Ella Juico

The Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association (PATAFA) bemoaned the decision of the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) to name world-class pole vaulter EJ Obiena as athletics’ choice to benefit the Olympic Solidarity Scholarship program of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

In a statement released Saturday, PATAFA said POC President Bambol Tolentino usurped the association’s functions and mandate as the sports’ controlling body in naming the athlete that would benefit the IOC grant.

PATAFA had earlier nominated sprinter and Tokyo Olympian Kristina Knott as its athlete of choice to get the said scholarship grant, which aims to support athletes preparing for the 2024 Paris Olympics.

PATAFA also clarified that its endorsement of Knott had long been decided upon before its rift with Obiena.

Juico cited reasons to endorse Knott as the sports’ beneficiary: “To promote gender equity, and to widen the opportunities for development and promote equal access to resources among the PATAFA’s 50 athletes.”

“At that time the Philippine Sports Commission had already approved the PATAFA’s request to grant P10 million pesos for Obiena’s training and preparation for the Paris Olympics 2024. Thus, the nomination of Knott was independent of the rift between the PATAFA and Obiena,” the statement read.

PATAFA also cited that Obiena is not part of the association’s national training pool and therefore, does not qualify as a PATAFA nominee.

“The PATAFA, together with its athletes and coaches, stands firm on its nominee Kristina Knott to benefit from the Olympic Solidarity Scholarship Grant. Knott’s nomination fulfills the criteria and procedures prescribed under the World Athletics and is aligned with its overall development priorities,” the statement read.