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EJ Obiena to take polygraph test after being hit with doping allegation

By NICK GARCIA Published Oct 17, 2023 10:47 am

Filipino pole vaulter EJ Obiena is taking a polygraph test following accusations that he was doping, his mentor said.

James Michael Lafferty told CNN Philippines they're doing the test this week while Obiena is in Dubai and will make the result public for transparency.

"He has never even thought about it let alone be close to it," Lafferty said. "Our only worry in all of this is he watches that nobody spikes any of his food and drink."

According to the American Psychological Association, a polygraph test assesses three indicators of autonomic arousal—heart rate/blood pressure, respiration, and skin conductivity—while the subject is asked questions. It's often incorrectly referred to as a "lie detector" test, as there are no specific physiological reactions associated with lying.

On Oct. 13, Facebook page "Vaulter Magazine - Vaulter Club Inc." shared a quote card from a media publication dated Oct. 12, in which Obiena said he can beat the world's top pole vaulter, Sweden's Armand Duplantis, at the Paris Olympics in 2024. Obiena is No. 2.

Several users commented, including the account of Anais Lavillenie, the wife of 2012 Olympics gold medalist Renaud Lavillenie of France.

"Obeina [sic] doped and it'll fall like Braz. Same coach, Same plan, same objective!" the account's comment read, along with a face vomiting emoji.

A user directly asked if the account meant Obiena was taking PEDs or performance-enhancing drugs, but didn't reply.

Obiena shared a screenshot of the comment on Oct. 15 and said he will explore legal options.

"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," he said.

"I will let the story evolve while my team explores the many angles including legal. I guess this is part of the price you pay when you win," he added.