‘I accept this’: EJ Obiena responds to doping accuser’s formal apology

October 27, 2023 - 12:08 PM
Photo of EJ Obiena during his pole-vaulting match at the Hangzhou Stadium in China (EJObiena/Facebook)

EJ Obiena received an apology letter from Anais Laviellenie, the wife of a pole vaulter who accused him of doping in the games.

Obiena on October 26 uploaded a copy of the letter, saying this was the proof he needed to restore his reputation as a drug-free Filipino athlete.

“I shall always strive to do what is right and be the bigger person. To conduct myself with honor and dignity. The last step of restoring my drug-free reputation comes from an admission of wrong from my accuser—Anais Laviellenie,” he said.

“I can obtain this via a legal case; or by her own admission,” the athlete added.

In the letter he attached, Laviellenie, who is the wife of London 2012 Olympics pole vault gold medalist Renaud Lavillenie of France, expressed regret over her comment, which had since been deleted.

“I would like to offer publicly my sincerest apologies for writing untruthful words on Vaulter Magazine’s Facebook post about you and your coach Vitaly Petrov,” she said.

“I made a stupid amalgam that I should never have done and written, I admit and that’s why I deleted the comment after the fact but the damage was done. I am sincerely sorry,” she added.

Obiena said that he had accepted this apology, saying that her letter “closes” the issue.

“I accept this. She admits she was wrong and she admits what she did was wrong. This fact, alongside all other facts, makes it clear. I am a 100% clean athlete. This for me closes this matter,” he said.

Laviellenie earlier accused Obiena of doping during pole-vaulting competitions. She also said that he’ll “fall like Braz” in reference to Thiago Braz, a Brazilian pole vaulter who was suspended last July for testing positive for doping.

“[Obiena] doped and it’ll fall like Braz. Same coach, same plan, same objective!” her now-deleted comment reads.

This was in reaction to Vaulter Magazine’s post about Obiena’s bid to beat Armand Duplantis in Paris next year.

Obiena said that he and his team would explore options, including a legal case, on how to respond to her accusation.

READ: ‘Disappointed, angry’: EJ Obiena reacts to doping accusation amid Paris Olympics bid 

Drug tests passed

In the same post, Obiena said that he has “impeccable” data from the World Anti-Doping Agency, citing 34 drug tests passed.

The Olympic contender also took a polygraph and an Eye Detect test, both of which he passed “convincingly.”

These records and the fact that it was a former pole vaulter’s wife who accused him prompted him to “aggressively” defend himself “[more] than any athlete in history has done.”

Obiena also expressed “no desire” to disrupt his preparations for the 2024 Paris Olympics by pursuing a legal case against Laviellenie.

Moreover, he also hoped to retain the “close-knit nature” of the elite pole vault community.

“I also would like to keep the close-knit nature of the elite pole vault community and have no desire to disrupt these dynamics. So, I am prepared to accept a full and complete apology and move on. This is what I believe the bigger person would do,” Obiena said.

Following the apology, he asked his supporters to “be the bigger person” and stop messaging the Laviellenie couple.

“I would also like to deeply thank all the netizens who supported me, Maraming Salamat po, but also ask everyone to cease any further messaging to Anais Lavillenie and Renaud Lavillenie. Let us all be the bigger person and move forward from this,” he said.