Mr. President, distinguished colleagues, I rise today to join our colleagues in giving honor and paying tribute to a young but highly accomplished Filipino athlete, and our national pride Ernest John “EJ” Obiena.
His medal haul from various international competitions in the last six years, as recorded by the world athletics organization, is almost double his current age of 26. he had three winning streaks during the outdoor season this year alone. Obiena also secured his spot in history by becoming the first Filipino to win bronze at the world athletics championships, wherein he also reset the Asian record.
Truly, EJ itong si EJ – Extraordinary Jumper.
But what sets our very own pole vault champion apart from the others, and what makes his victory even sweeter is the number of challenges he had to overcome to reach this point. Hindi po naging madali ang mga pinagdaaan ng batang ito ngayong taon. He had knee surgery early this year. he contracted covid in the middle of the year, causing him to miss some competitions. Of course, there is also the high-profile controversy with PATAFA.
But just like a true and professional athlete, he kept his calm and focus and employed such difficulties to his advantage as fuel to fire up his motivation to win and excel, and represent the nation well before the international stage.
Salamat EJ sa pagwawagayway ng watawat ng Pilipinas sa iyong mga laban at pagbibigay ng kasiyahan, inspirasyon at karangalan sa ating mga kababayan.
Sa iyong ipinakitang galing, kababaang loob at determinasyon, isa kang huwaran sa kabataang pinoy.
Bagamat tiyak akong malayo pa ang iyong mararating at marami ka pang maiuuwing medalya para sa bansa, para sa akin, naka-ukit na sa kasaysayan ng Philippine sports ang pangalang EJ Obiena bilang isa sa pinakamagaling na atleta ng bansa.
Thank You, Mr. President.
 Philippine Athletics Track And Field Association (PATAFA)