Asian Games

EJ Obiena enjoys P10-million cash windfall after golden Asian Games leap

Philip Matel

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EJ Obiena enjoys P10-million cash windfall after golden Asian Games leap

SENSATIONAL. EJ Obiena reacts after the Asian Games men's pole vault final.

Jeremy Lee/REUTERS

‘I think I’m in a very good space, very good environment to produce something historic,’ says world No. 2 pole vaulter EJ Obiena after receiving financial support from his high school alma mater, Chiang Kai Shek College, and several Filipino-Chinese business leaders

MANILA, Philippines – After a golden leap in the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou, China, pole vaulter EJ Obiena received a cash windfall amounting to P10 million.

The world No. 2 male pole vaulter returned to his high school alma mater, Chiang Kai Shek College (CKSC) in Tondo, Manila, on Friday, October 6, where he was met by school officials and Filipino-Chinese business leaders.

CKSC officials awarded Obiena with P3 million, while the Federation of Filipino Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry Inc., along with businessmen Anson Tan and Oishi’s Carlos Chan, pledged a total of P7 million.

Obiena also received undisclosed additional cash prizes given in traditional Chinese red envelopes.

This is on top of the government-mandated prize of P2 million courtesy of Republic Act 10699, and a P1 million pledge from the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) for winning an Asian Games gold.

Obiena, who will leave for Europe on October 15 to start his grind for the 2024 Paris Olympics, says the money will help him better prepare for logistical issues when heading to meets.

“Maybe we don’t need to fly budget airlines this time so we can fly like normal airlines and have a little bit more luggage, and probably I can travel more with my whole team,” Obiena said during a media availability on Friday.

“I would not need to travel alone. Those are the biggest things that would help me moving forward,” he added.

As he gears up for a podium finish in the world’s biggest multisport event, Obiena detailed that he will be participating in five events, while also undergoing training camp in the United States.

He remains under the tutelage of world-class coach Vitaly Petrov, who has been his mentor for a decade.

Despite the huge amount of money coming his way a year after a messy financial rift with the Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association, Obiena remains even keeled at looking towards a possible gold medal.

“I think I’m in a very good space, very good environment to produce something historic,” said Obiena, who won silver at the World Championships.

“I’ve said last year that I want to win the Asian Games, I want to win the Southeast Asian Games and at least bronze in the worlds.”

“Going in this year, we achieved that and actually got better…obviously, the self-belief that I have right now is very high,” he continued.

“And I think I need to just keep safe and be healthy and continue to trust my coach and continue the regimen we have.”

The main goal for Obiena is to keep consistent in his leaps, noting that his jumps in the Asiad were “all kind of different.”

“It’s not consistent and consistency would give me the best position to win, so there’s a lot of things I need to work on. With my speed and strength, it could always be improved,” he mentioned. 

“With my mental game, there’s always room for improvement there. Those are the little things that we’ll try to tweak and moving forward, trying to improve.” —

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