FOR his winning streak in international competitions and for a successful 2022 campaign that brought national pride, Senator Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada said pole vaulter Ernest John “EJ” Obiena merits recognition and commendation from the Senate.
“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,” Estrada said in his co-sponsorship speech on his Senate Resolution No. 222 commending Obiena.
Estrada said Obiena’s 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.
Obiena bagged 17 medals in 22 events in less than a year of competing on the international stage – 12 gold, two silver, and three bronze. Obiena also secured his spot in history by becoming the first Filipino to win bronze at the World Athletics Championships in Oregon, USA last July 24. He also reset the Asian and personal best records.
The senator said Obiena’s success and impressive medal haul are due to his steadfast determination, perseverance, and commitment to excellence, despite the series of serious challenges that were thrown his way.
“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 and of course, there is also the high-profile controversy with PATAFA (Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association),” Estrada said.
“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. Truly, EJ itong si EJ – Extraordinary Jumper,” he added.
The lawmaker likewise noted that while Obiena soared to great heights and reigned supreme against formidable opponents in international competitions, he remained humble and down-to-earth as he recognized the generous support of his parents, coach and support team, supporters from the government, and even paid tribute to his predecessors who paved the way for him and for the sport.
Obiena’s fighting spirit, firm resolve to always aim higher, and unwavering drive to become better are positive attributes that the younger generation can emulate, the senator said.
“His achievements at such a young age should be made known and celebrated to inspire the youth to enter into sports which foster self-discipline, character development, and patriotism. Obiena is indeed a national pride whose triumphs, world-class skill, and display of sportsmanship enhance the country’s image and standing in the international community,” Estrada said.