MANILA, Philippines – Jubilation has turned to gloom over the past 24 hours for Ernest John Obiena.
Fresh from winning the bronze medal in the Asian Athletics Championship in India, Obiena was shocked to find out his 8 poles were damaged in the flight to Italy where he will resume training for the Southeast Asian Games this August.
On his Facebook page, Obiena said: “I was walking to pick up the pole from the airport when I saw it laying down on the floor with its lock missing with a big cut in the middle of the case. I immediately opened the bag and saw all my poles were damaged beyond usable.
“I was in shock and I felt blank for quite some time thinking that it is all over for me. All my hard work gone in a matter of seconds and my dreams are crushed. I was looking forward to representing my country in the upcoming South East Asian Games but all of it is a blur now without my equipment.
“This is a cry for help,” adds Obiena.
Obiena is appealing for donations to buy new poles immediately.
“I do believe in the power of the people so I am here desperately asking for your much needed help.”
“I would be replacing 8 poles in total including a pole bag. A pole cost around $850 each and the pole bag is around $220. The total price would be around $7,020.
“I am force [sic] to buy these poles one way or another, if I want to compete and represent my country. I am humbly asking for your kind help, any amount is appreciated and cherished. I would attach all info and updates about the matter down below. I hope we can work together and make this possible.”
Obiena, the UST engineering student who holds the Philippine record of 5.55 meters in the pole vault, is one of the country’s gold medal hopes in the SEA Games. He cleared 5.50 meters in the Asian championship for the Philippines’ first medal in this biennial event since 2009 when Marestella Torres won the long jump.
Harry Diones added to the Philippines’ tally with a silver medal in the triple jump on Friday evening. – Rappler.com