Filipino pole vaulter EJ Obiena says he and his team are exploring their options after he was accused of doping in the comments section of a social media post.
The Facebook page “Vaulter Magazine – Vaulter Club Inc.” recently shared a story from the Manila Times where Obiena expressed his hope that he can defeat world record holder Mondo Duplantis of Sweden in next year’s Paris Olympics.
Among the comments in the post came from the profile of Anais Lavillenie, wife of former world record-holder and 2012 Olympics gold medalist Renaud Lavillenie of France.
“Obiena [sic] doped and it’ll fall like Braz. Same coach, same plan, same objective!” the comment read.
The account did not reply when asked directly if she is accusing Obiena of using performance enhancing drugs (PEDs).
Obiena posted a screenshot of the comments on his verified public Facebook account on Sunday night, October 15.
“I want to remain classy and dignified on this subject. All I will say is I am disappointed, angry and feel wronged by these statements,” Obiena said.
“I will let the story evolve while my team explores the many angles, including legal,” he said.
“I guess this is part of the price you pay when you win,” he added.
Obiena has risen to second in the world rankings, only behind Duplantis. He became a member of the six-meter club in pole vault this year, clearing the mark in July in an event in Norway.
He also won gold in the Southeast Asian Games, the Asian Championships, and the Asian Games, while placing second to Duplantis in the world championships and in the Diamond League finals.
The “Braz” mentioned in the Facebook comment is apparently Brazilian pole vaulter Thiago Braz, the gold medalist in the 2016 Rio Olympics and Obiena’s training partner.
Both pole vaulters are trained by Ukrainian legend Vitaly Petrov, who is apparently the “same coach” being referred to in the comment.
In July 2023, Braz was suspended after returning a positive result for ostarine — a selective androgen receptor modulator that can help increase physical stamina and fitness.
He may be banned for four years.
Also commenting on the post was Jim Lafferty, a personal advisor of Obiena, who asserted: “EJ is a winner. A 100 percent clean winner.”
Per a report by the Business Mirror, Lafferty has also stressed that Obiena has never tested positive for PEDs and regularly undergoes anti-doping procedures. He also acknowledged that they will consult a lawyer regarding the comments posted on the page, which has over 93,000 followers.
Lavillenie, now 37 years old, was the previous world record holder in the pole vault. He won silver in the 2016 Olympics behind Braz, but has not lived up to his own standard in the 2023 season.
As per the World Athletics website, Lavillenie’s best result this year is 5.61 meters in an event in Poland in June. (ABS-CBN News)