SEA Games

EJ Obiena tasked as PH flag bearer in SEA Games

Delfin Dioquino
EJ Obiena tasked as PH flag bearer in SEA Games

TITLE DEFENDED. EJ Obiena adds to the Philippines' gold medal tally by topping the men's pole vault for the second straight SEA Games.

Johanna Geron/Reuters

Filipino pole vault star EJ Obiena will carry the flag in the opening ceremony of the upcoming Southeast Asian Games in Vietnam
EJ Obiena tasked as PH flag bearer in SEA Games

MANILA, Philippines – Initially in jeopardy of missing the Southeast Asian Games, pole vault star EJ Obiena will serve as Team Philippines’ flag bearer in the regional showpiece in Hanoi, Vietnam kicking off on May 12.

Obiena, who is expected to defend the SEA Games gold medal he won more than two years ago with a 5.45 meters clearance, will carry the flag in the opening ceremony to be staged at the My Dinh National Stadium.

“It is an honor,” said the Asian record holder.

“All I can do for now is to train harder and be better and smarter,” Obiena added. “I really want to defend my SEA Games title.”

Philippine Olympic Committee president Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino bared they nominated both Obiena and weightlifting star Hidilyn Diaz to be the Philippines’ joint flag bearers.

The SEA Games, however, allow only one flag bearer for each country.

Despite this, Diaz – the Philippines’ first Olympic gold medalist – gave Obiena her seal of approval, saying the pole vaulter is the “story of every Filipino athlete who fights to bring home pride and glory to the country.”

“I’m very happy to see EJ as our flag bearer for Team Philippines,” said Diaz. “I’m happy for him and the rest of the Philippine delegation. I will support him.”

Obiena and Diaz are part of the 656 Filipino athletes who will see action in Vietnam as the Philippines aims to defend its overall championship.

The country will take part in 39 of the 40 sports Hanoi will host in the biennial meet that will run until May 23. –

Delfin Dioquino

Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.