In a notable turn of events, EJ Obiena, the world’s second-ranked Filipino pole vaulter, has found vindication after facing baseless doping allegations. The accuser, Anais Lavillenie, has officially apologized, acknowledging the inaccuracy of her previous claims.
These allegations surfaced nearly two weeks ago through a Facebook post by Lavillenie, where she accused Obiena and his coach of achieving their success through illicit doping. It’s worth noting that Lavillenie is a former elite pole vaulter and the wife of a former Olympic champion and world record holder.
In a letter dated October 24, 2023, which Obiena shared on his Facebook page, Lavillenie expressed her remorse, saying, “I would like to offer publicly my sincere apologies for writing untruthful words on Vaulter Magazine’s Facebook post about you and your coach Vitaly Petrov.” She openly admitted her mistake, acknowledging that her words were baseless and unfounded.
She recognized the gravity of her actions and the disrespect she had shown to Obiena and his coach. Lavillenie added, “That’s why I deleted the comment after the fact, but the damage was done. I am sincerely sorry.”
Obiena, in a gracious response, accepted Lavillenie’s apology, deeming the matter resolved. He chose not to pursue a legal case, demonstrating his commitment to maintaining unity within the elite pole vaulting community and his focus on preparations for the upcoming Paris Olympics.
The gold medalist from the Hangzhou Asian Games had already taken proactive steps to prove his innocence and restore his untarnished image. He was deeply affected by the unjust accusations and felt a strong need to defend his integrity.
In an effort to clear his name, Obiena revealed the results of 34 drug tests conducted by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), all of which he had passed. He went a step further by voluntarily taking both a polygraph and an EyeDetect test administered by Converus, passing both convincingly.
Obiena vehemently stated, “I HAVE NEVER DOPED. What I have accomplished is from countless hours of rigorous hard work with my team, in a land far from my family, home, and country. I am a 100% CLEAN ATHLETE. This, for me, closes this matter.”
He expressed his gratitude to those who stood by his side throughout this challenging ordeal, including his coach, Vitaly Petrov, James Michael Lafferty, Mr. Capistrano, Senator Christopher “Bong Go,” Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president Rep. Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino, and his legal team at GANA Atienza Avisado Law (Alex Avisado Jr).
Obiena also expressed his gratitude to the online community who stood in support, emphasizing the importance of refraining from sending additional messages to Anais and Renaud Lavillenie. He encouraged unity and a joint effort to move past this incident.