Senator Christopher “Bong” Go on Monday lauded pole vaulter Ernest John “EJ” Obiena on his record-breaking success and winning gold at the men’s pole vault competition in the 31st Southeast Asian Games in Hanoi, Vietnam on Saturday, May 15.
“I would like to congratulate EJ Obiena for bagging the gold medal at the men’s pole vault competition in the Hanoi SEA Games,” said Go, who chairs the Senate Committee on Sports, in a statement.
“Saludo po ang buong bansa sa iyong tagumpay (The whole nation congratulates you for your success),” Go added.
In a video message, Obiena expressed his gratitude to the senator for supporting Filipino athletes.
“Senator Bong Go, maraming salamat po sa inyong pagsuporta sa mga atleta (thank you for supporting us athletes). Thank you very much po. This is for the Philippines. It wouldn’t be possible without you po,” Obiena had said.
Go, however, responded by emphasizing that it is his duty as a senator, sports advocate and Filipino to support athletes in any way he can.
Go said it was Obiena and other Filipino athletes that had helped the Philippines become a sports powerhouse in Asia again.
“Salamat sa iyo at sa lahat ng mga atleta natin sa SEA Games Vietnam sa inyong mga pagsisikap na mabigyan ng karangalan ang ating bansa, (Thank you to all our athletes in the SEA Games Vietnam for persevering to give our nation honor),” he said.
“Ang inyong mga panalo ay nagbibigay ng pag-asa at inspirasyon sa ating mga kababayang patuloy na nilalampasan ang pandemya at iba pang mga hamon sa katatagan ng ating pagka-Pilipino (Your victory gives us hope and inspiration to our people who try to overcome the challenges of the pandemic),” Go added.
The senator also emphasized the need for Filipino unity and full support, particularly in sports, where the country’s glory and honor are on the line.
Go also commended other Filipino athletes who have clinched medals for the country.
“Let your achievements motivate the future generation of Filipinos to strive hard so that they can also make our nation proud one day,” he said.
“For my part, I assure you of my unrelenting and wholehearted support for our athletes and the entire sports community.
As of 2:00 pm, May 15, Team Philippines has won 55 medals in the Hanoi SEA Games — 14 golds, 19 silvers and 22 bronzes.
Go had also commended Mary Francine Padios, who gave the Philippines its first gold medal, when she reigned in women’s pencak silat seni tunggal.
On May 13, a day after the opening ceremonies of the Games, the country bagged its second gold after kurash athlete Jackielou Escarpe beat his Thai opponent at the men’s -73kg kurash.
Later, Olympian Carlos Yulo also bagged the gold medal in the men’s individual all-around event in gymnastics. Kickboxers Gina Araos Iniong and Jean Claude Saclag also won gold medals for the country for women’s kickboxing low kick -60 kg and men’s kickboxing low kick -63.5kg categories, respectively.
“As Chair of the Senate Committee on Sports, I offer my heartfelt gratitude and admiration to each and every one of you for your unwavering devotion to our country via sports and for sustaining the real spirit of patriotism,” Go said.