WORLD-RENOWNED pole vaulter Ernest john ‘EJ’ Obiena was honored by city officials in fitting ceremonies at the Manila City Hall’s flagraising ceremony yesterday morning.
Lacuna was joined by Vice Mayor Yul Servo and Tondo Councilor Uno Lim (2nd district) in citing Obiena for bringing so much pride and honor not only to the city of Manila but the country as well, referring to Obiena as “Batang Tondo,” or the city’s ‘son’ from Tondo.
Obiena was also handed a P300,000 check by Lacuna as a reward and to help in his expenses as he continues to hone his skills. Obiena hails from the second district of Tondo.
The 26-year-old athlete was also presented by Lacuna with four Manila City Council resolutions, citing him for his exemplary achievements and for constantly bringing honor to the city.
“Di natin masukat ang karangalang dinala ni EJ sa ating bansa, lalong-lalo na sa lungsod ng Maynila,” the mayor said.
She added: “Kailangan nating yakapin ang mga hamon at hindi ang takot at pangamba. Patuloy tayong mangarap kasama ang determinasyong maabot natin ang tagumpay. Basta magtiwala lang sa sarili at manalig sa Poong Maykapal. ‘Yan po ang ginawa ni EJ Obiena, na sana po ay matularan nating lahat.”
Obiena has held the Philippine national record in pole vaulting with a record of 5.55 meters which he accomplished on April 29, 2016 at the 78th Singapore Open Championships in Kallang, Singapore.
He later broke the Asian Athletics Championships record with 5.71 meters on April 21, 2019 on its 23rd biennial meet at Doha, Qatar which earned him the coveted gold medal finish. He currently holds the National Record which he broke in the same event.
Obiena is currently ranked as the world’s third-best active men’s pole vaulter, as per the World Athletics. He is the first Filipino to have been given a scholarship from the International Athletic Association Federation (IAAF).
It was learned that Obiena was also awarded as an “Outstanding Manilan” in the recently-concluded “Araw ng Maynila” marking the city’s founding anniversary.