Vitaly Petrov says Patafa 'never done anything to help develop Obiena'

Jan 26, 2022
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PHOTO: (Background) Jerome Ascano

EJ OBIENA'S coach Vitaly Petrov took to social media to air his sentiments about the feud between the world-ranked pole vaulter and the Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association (Patafa).

The long-running rift between the two begun in November 2021 after the national sports association accused Obiena of failure to submit his coach's salary liquidation.

Just yesterday, Obiena's camp indicated that it will withdraw from the mediation offers of the Philippine Sports Commission.

Despite earlier telling the Inquirer that he would make no more statements about the matter, Obiena's Ukrainian coach Vitaly Petrov broke his silence earlier today, January 26, to lambast Patafa.

"From the 7 years of work that I have done with Ej, I have never heard PATAFA or Mr. Philip Juico ask me what they can do to help me develop Ej," he wrote in the opener of his lengthy Facebook post. "I have coached Ej for 7 years and have helped him jump 5.93m, which is the current Asian record."

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Petrov, 84, also bared that finances never got in the way of his mentorship, and said that he loved EJ like his own.

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    "Money has never been an issue. There are even times where I spend my own money, like paying for a gymnastic coach to help Ej improve. Coaching is my passion and developing athletes like Ej to reach their maximum potential is my motivation. I coach Ej day in and out because of my passion and genuine care for this young Filipino boy. Truth be told, I call him “my boy” all the time as I see my athletes as my own family like my own sons and daughters," he said.

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    Obiena is currently ranked 5th in the world and Petrov says, they're finally "seeing the results."

    "Now that the time has come for Ej to realize his hard work; reap the reward of our time and effort then suddenly PATAFA cancels me as their coach. I was never Philip Juico’s Pole Vault coach, I am the coach of Thiago Braz, Sergey Bubka, Yelena Isinbaeva and Ej Obiena," he continued.

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    He reiterated Obiena's position that an athlete should not be in charge of his team's finances.

    "In my opinion athletes should only be thinking about their training and performance everything else is additional burden and distraction that they don’t need," said Petrov.

    He added: "Never have I been scorned by any federation of any nation that I have worked with. Now PATAFA and Mr. Philip Juico who has never done anything to help me, drops me as a coach and remove my athlete that has a great future in this sport."

    Following an internal investigation, Patafa threatened to remove Obiena of the spot he holds in the national team last January 4.

    From that, Petrov dropped his final words: "If this federation is dropping a world class athlete instead of helping; drops his coach who have trained him to be one of the best pole vaulters; brands a sport patron persona non grata who have done nothing but helped bring this Filipino boy to where he is now, then I ask what is this federation doing?"

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    PHOTO: (Background) Jerome Ascano
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