Pole vaulter Ernest John “EJ” Obiena must be given commendation for bringing honor to the country, a Manila lawmaker said on Sunday, July 31, following his historic bronze medal win in this year’s World Athletics Championships.
In filing a resolution commending Obiena, Manila 2nd District Rep. Rolando Valeriano recognized the pole vaulter for his “outstanding feat”, noting that Obiena also rose to his new career-best world No. 3 in the world rankings.
He pointed out that Obiena was the only Filipino and Asian to bag a medal in the prestigious 2022 World Athletics Championships pole vault held in the United States.
On July 25, Obiena cleared 5.94 meters, breaking by a centimeter his own Asian, national, and previous personal record of 5.93 meters.
“EJ once said that he hoped to inspire his fellow youths of Tondo, where he is from. He wants them all to dream, and go after this dream, for anything is possible through hard work and grit,” Valeriano said in a statement accompanied by the copy of the resolution, which his office said was filed on Sunday.
Valeriano, chair of the House Committee on Metro Manila Development, stated that Obiena served as a “real inspiration” to all Filipinos.
READ: Pole vaulter EJ Obiena advances to World Athletics Championships final
“This outstanding athlete, who is not just a world class pole vaulter, but a person of unparalleled compassionate character,” he noted.
The Manila lawmaker also recognized the athlete for his “unparalled compassionate character” after he pledged to donate the P250,000-incentive he will be receiving from the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) for the medical needs of Lydia De Vega.
De Vega, a Filipino track legend who was once Asia’s fastest woman, is now battling breast cancer.
“I hope that our country will be able to have more EJs. Someone who we would truly foster and support,” Valeriano said.
The lawmaker previously came to Obiena’s defense when he filed a Resolution asking the House Committee on Youth and Sports Development to conduct an investigation, on the alleged harassment against Obiena waged by the Philippine Athletic Track and Field Association (PATAFA), his very own National Sports Association (NSA), after PATAFA President Philip Juico accused the Olympian of falsifying liquidation documents and failing to pay his coach.
Obiena and his coach denied these allegations, which were proven to be inaccurate, which pushed Valeriano to call for the resignation of Juico as PATAFA President.