By KRISTEL SATUMBAGA
The Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) on Wednesday deferred the suspension of the Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association (PATAFA) following its General Assembly (GA).
POC President Bambol Tolentino said the deferment was due to the pending outcome of the ongoing mediation between PATAFA and pole vaulter EJ Obiena, which was reportedly nearing completion.
“In the spirit of sportsmanship and because of the Lenten season, a vote to suspend the athletics federation wasn’t offered to the GA,” Tolentino said.
Tolentino, however, clarified the PATAFA suspension will still be tackled in next month’s GA scheduled for the last week of April – barely two weeks before the 31st Southeast Asian Games in Hanoi, Vietnam.
Meanwhile, the GA ratified the Executive Board’s decision to suspend the Philippine Tennis Association (Philta) for 90 days following its failure to heed the International Tennis Federation’s instruction to amend its charter and hold an election.
Out of 55 voting members, 42 voted to ratify Philta’s suspension – more than the required two-thirds vote.
“If the Patafa doesn’t endorse EJ [Obiena] in the next GA, the suspension will be decided on the floor,” said Tolentino.
Patafa, headed by Philip Juico, didn’t put Obiena on its list of athletes for the Vietnam SEA Games despite being the defending champion in the biennial meet and with a world ranking of No. 5.
This prompted the POC to endorse the Asian men’s pole vault record holder in its capacity as a national Olympic committee or NOC.