Manila honors ‘Batang Tondo’ Olympian pole vaulter EJ Obiena

Manila honors ‘Batang Tondo’ Olympian pole vaulter EJ Obiena

MANILA — Led by Mayor Honey Lacuna, the city of Manila honored its “Son from Tondo” in Olympian pole vaulter Ernest John “EJ” Obiena in fitting but simple ceremonies at the Manila City Hall’s flag-raising ceremony yesterday.

Vice Mayor Yul Servo, city officials, and councilors also attended the affair in which Tondo Councilor Uno Lim (2nd district) assisted the lady local chief executive in extending Obiena special citation for bringing so much pride and honor not only to the city of Manila but the country as well.

The 26-year-old athlete, whom Lacuna called, “Batang Tondo,” received a P300,000 check from Lacuna as a reward from the city and to help him with his expenses as he continues to hone his skills abroad.

Obiena hails from the second district of Tondo.

Obiena 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.

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.

“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,” Lacuna said.

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).

(Kiara Lauren Ibanez/BC/ai/mtvn)

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