House Rep commends EJ Obiena for historic medal

A House lawmaker has filed a resolution commending pole vaulter Ernest John “EJ” Obiena for his historic bronze medal finish in the 2022 World Athletics Championships and for climbing to No. 3 in the world rankings.

Manila District Rep. Rolando Valeriano said in his resolution Obiena deserves the commendation for bringing honor and glory to the country by winning a medal in the “most prestigious and competitive” global competition held in the United of States on July 24.

Obiena cleared the 5.94 meters in the pole vault finals in the  the men’s division of the 2022 World Athletics Championships, breaking the Asian record of 5.93 meters he set during the 17th Golden Roof Challenge in Innsbruck, Austria I September 2021.

Valeriano said Obiena has risen to No. 3 in the latest world rankings for men’s pole vault due to this outstanding feat. “EJ once said he hoped to inspire his fellow youths of Tondo, where he is from. He wants them all to dream, and follow this dream, for anything is possible through hard work and grit,”

The lawmaker also spotlighted Obiena’s “unparalleled compassionate character,” when he pledged to donate the incentive he would receive from the Philippine Sports Commission to then ailing Lydia De Vega-Mercado, who was once labeled as Asia’s fastest woman.

“The truth is that EJ is a real inspiration, not just to us from Tondo, but to all Filipinos This outstanding athlete, is not just a world class pole vaulter, but a person of unparalleled compassionate character,” Valeriano said.

Obiena earlier announced the PHP250,000 incentive he will get from the Philippine Sports Commission for breaking his own Asian record in pole vault will be donated in full to Lydia de Vega-Mercado, who was in critical condition in her survival battle against Stage 4 breast cancer.

“I am deeply saddened by the news of Ma’am Lydia’s health issues, and the pleas of her family for financial assistance for the mounting medical bills. I have met Ma’am Lydia in Singapore on many occasions, and she has always been kind, supportive and loving individual. On the flight back to Italy, it occurred to me that despite my own training needs, Ma’am Lydia needs this money more than I do,” he said.

Obiena then announced that his adviser, James Lafferty, and his wife, nutritionist Carol, will also pledge P250,000 to the Mercados for her recovery.

“In total, Team Obiena has pledged P500,000 to Ma’am Lydia and her family. We hope this makes a difference and gives Ma’am Lydia added strength to battle this horrible disease,” Obiena said.