Obiena receiving passport offers from many countries, says mentor

Obiena receiving passport offers from many countries, says mentor

Obiena receiving passport offers from many countries, says mentor

MANILA, Philippines – EJ Obiena's long-time mentor has revealed that multiple countries have already been courting the pole vaulter amid his conflict with the Philippine Athletic Track and Field Association (PATAFA).

In an interview with sports broadcast journalist Gretchen Ho, James Michael Lafferty said that many countries have expressed their interest with Obiena and offered him passports, even before the issue with the sports body started.

"A number of countries are looking at this situation and laughing uncontrollably at how the Philippines is driving away a world class athlete the can offer a passport to," Lafferty said.

"Long before this happened, there was already a line of people at his door to offer him a passport," he added.

Obiena and PATAFA have been feuding for the past couple of weeks following claims of Obiena falsifying liquidation reports.

PATAFA had accused Obiena of embezzlement and de facto stealing the financial assistance given to him to pay his coach Vitaly Petrov's salary.

Obiena and Petrov both came out to deny the allegations while the former called "character assassination" and "slander" at PATAFA's claims.

The Philippine Sports Commission has already intervened and made itself mediator in the issue.

The 26-year-old previously threatened immediate retirement if PATAFA did not rescind their claims.

But if Lafferty's statements are true, then Obiena might not have to retire after all.

However, losing Obiena, ranked fifth in the world, will be a huge blow to Philippine sports.

"He's the hottest thing in track and field because he's gone from no. 30 to no. 10 to no. 8 to no. 5. Multiple, it's not one [but] it's multiple [offers]," he said.

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Credit belongs to : www.philstar.com

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