By Wilnard Bacelonia
MANILA – The wife of 2012 Olympic gold medalist pole vaulter Renaud Lavillenie, who insinuated through a social media post that Filipino pole vaulter EJ Obiena is using banned substances, might be jealous or has malicious intent, according to Senator Christopher Lawrence Go.
In a news release on Wednesday, Go expressed his skepticism on the allegation which he said intends to tarnish the reputation of Obiena who currently holds the Asian record in the pole vault.
“Nanalo lang [si Obiena], pinagbintangan na agad. Baka inggit lang siguro. Walang gamot sa inggit (Obiena just won and he was immediately accused. Maybe it’s just envy. There is no cure for envy),” Go said.
Condemning the accusation and reiterating the importance of professionalism in sports, he urged the accuser to substantiate the claim and not resort to ruining Obiena’s reputation.
“As chair of the Senate Committee on Sports, we will always support and protect the integrity of our Filipino athletes,” Go assured.
The accusation was made after Thiago Braz, another athlete trained by Obiena’s coach, tested positive for performance-enhancing substances last July.
Along with other Pinoy athletes who brought home gold medals from the recent Asian Games in China, Obiena visited the Office of Senator Go to discuss the need to renovate sports facilities, additional support to athletes competing abroad, and increase funds for grassroots sports programs.
Obiena’s camp has arranged for a polygraph test to be conducted, the results of which will be shared publicly to address the accusations head-on and uphold his professional standing in the global athletic community.
Obiena was able to set a new Asian Games record in pole vault by clearing 5.90 meters, thereby surpassing the previous record of 5.75 meters held by Japan’s Seito Yamamato in 2018.
He also holds the current Asian record after taking a height of 6.01 meters at the World Athletics Championships in Oregon, USA last year where he also secured a bronze medal. (PNA)