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MVP to Obiena: I hope you become an example and a catalyst for youth

Filipino champion pole vaulter Ernest John “EJ” Obiena

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Obiena shared three tips for young athletes who dream of competing in the world stage.“Enjoy your sport.“You need to be resilient to be able to bounce back when trials arise.” And lastly,“Believe in yourself that you will be able to achieve what you want to achieve.Give it the best that you’ve got.”

A day after he returned to the Philippines for a quick break after his sensational stint overseas, Filipino champion pole vaulter Ernest John “EJ” Obiena visited the PLDT Inc. headquarters in Makati City to meet with Philippine sports patron and chairman of the country’s largest telco network, Manuel V. Pangilinan.

Obiena has been based in Formia, Italy, training for the last three years, and this visit marked his first time back in the Philippines in some time. Donning their red and white Manny V. Pangilinan Sports Foundation (MVPSF) jackets, the two MVPs had a chance to catch up and discuss what’s next for the athlete.

“I thanked EJ for his service. He brings such great honor to the country and to Philippine sports. I hope that he becomes an example and a catalyst for the youth, so that they would emulate what he is doing,” said Pangilinan, who also serves as the chairman and trustee of MVPSF.

The MVPSF has been supporting Obiena since 2021 for his training to better his chances of making it to the 2024 Paris Olympics. “It is important to us that we support our athletes,” said Jude Turcuato, Head of Sports at PLDT and Smart Communications, Inc, and Executive Director at MVPSF. “By engaging with them, we can inspire Filipinos with the values of sports and contribute to nation-building,” he added.

Winning back-to-back medals, including a huge upset win over world champion Armand Duplantis at the Brussels Diamond League in Belgium early this September, Obiena shared that he feels happy, but still hungry for a better outcome next year. The bemedaled pole vaulter also thanked MVPSF for providing some of crucial support that he needed in joining tournaments overseas.

“Thank you very much for believing in me. I am very honored to be a part of this group, this family,” the athlete shared on the sidelines of the meeting.

Obiena also shared three tips for young athletes who dream of competing in the world stage. “Enjoy your sport. It’s going to be tough, but it becomes easier when you’re happy doing something you love.” He also added resilience to the list. “You need to be resilient to be able to bounce back when trials arise.” And lastly, he reminded athletes to have faith. “Believe in yourself that you will be able to achieve what you want to achieve. Give it the best that you’ve got.”

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