The Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) executive board on Thursday has suspended the Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association (Patafa) and the Philippine Tennis Association (Philta) for 90 days.
POC president Bambol Tolentino said that the POC suspended Patafa because it has failed to serve its purpose as a national sports association (NSA). He said an NSA must have ‘the dedication and commitment toward the development of the sport, promoting the ideals of the Olympic Movement and the spirit of sportsmanship.’
“Our constitution states that POC may suspend for any reason. However, it’s transparent that PATAFA has deliberately and intentionally disregarded our basic principles of promoting sports and development,” Tolentino said.
According to Tolentino, Patafa does not live up to its purpose following its non-endorsement of Olympian pole vaulter Ernest John “EJ” Obiena for World Indoor Championships in Belgrade, Serbia slated from March 18 to 20 and the Hanoi Southeast Asian Games set from May 12 to 23.
Patafa previously said that it won’t act on Obiena’s request to be endorsed for international competitions including the World Athletics Championships and the Asian Games pending the completion of the mediation process between the athletics federation and the pole vaulter.
“Unfortunately, the non-endorsement of EJ has created a national issue. EJ Obiena, under our International Olympic Committee Charter, has two reasons to be endorsed—sports merit and inspiration to the youth,” said Tolentino.
Tolentino said that despite sincere efforts by Obiena to reach out, “Patafa prioritized its pride, and it saddens [me] to look closely at a chance slowly gripping away. They have withheld an opportunity for the Filipino people to have another world record.”
“The time is clearly now for EJ who is mentally and physically prepared,” Tolentino said. “We are in a reachable milestone, within our grasp.”
The suspension shall be effective for 90 days upon ratification by the POC General Assembly during its regular meeting on March 30. If ratified, Patafa will not have any authority over the national athletics team to the SEA Games, giving Obiena a chance to defend his gold medal in Vietnam.
POC, meanwhile, is suspending Philta for ‘its non-compliance with an order from the International Tennis Federation (ITF) to amend its charter and hold fresh elections to select a truly representative set of board members.’
The ITF has suspended Philta late in 2020.
“If Philta complies with the ITF order, and the ITF accepts Philta’s compliance, the suspension of the tennis association will be lifted immediately.”
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