By Jean Malanum

ROLE MODEL. Filipino pole vaulter EJ Obiena delivers the first country’s gold medal in the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou, China on Sept. 30, 2023. Obiena on Wednesday (Jan. 3) said he wants to inspire young and aspiring athletes through his dedication and perseverance. (File photo courtesy of PSC photo)

MANILA – World’s No. 2 pole vaulter Ernest John “EJ” Obiena is busy preparing for the Paris Olympics, the world’s biggest sports event scheduled from July 26 to Aug. 11 this year.

The first Filipino to qualify for the Summer Games continues to bring pride to the country as a MILO ambassador, showing the importance of grit and perseverance to become successful.

“The goal is to win, and to do that, there’s going to be a lot of training, training camps outside of the country,” Obiena said in a press statement on Wednesday.

He said he is determined to excel as a competitor on the field and wants to serve as an inspiration to young and aspiring athletes.

Winning the silver medal at the World Athletics Championship with a new personal record and his gold medal victories at the Hangzhou Asian Games and Cambodia SEA Games proved Obiena’s unwavering dedication.

One of his inspirations to excel in sports was Swiss tennis player, Roger Federer.

“I want to understand what made him so composed – the way he matured into what he is now. Roger has done so much in tennis that is not achievable by just being an ordinary guy,” the 28-year-old Obiena said.

The 6-foot-1 Olympian also acknowledged the support of MILO, a brand known for nurturing young athletes to become champions.

Aside from helping elite athletes, MILO is also involved at the grassroots level through partnerships, such as the Philippine Sports Commission-organized Batang Pinoy which Obiena himself competed in as a kid.

His story is not just about athletic triumphs, but about the unwavering spirit of a young man reaching for the stars, both on and off the pole vault pit. (PNA)