Filipino pole vault star EJ Obiena said his vacation in his home country has enabled him to reconnect and boost his team that will work on his Olympic dreams.
“There is no place like home. And for me that means The Philippines,” said Obiena, who is currently the world’s no. 3 after a productive season that saw him win 12 gold medals in international competition.
“After a three-year hiatus, I have spent now 3 weeks rediscovering home. Reconnecting with family and supporters. Revisiting with institutions of my youth that helped shape me to be who I am today. It’s been wonderful.”
During his the last three weeks, he has met with family, friends, and sports officials, who have supported his roller-coaster journey.
One of the most emotional was the visit to his alma mater Chiang Kai Shek College, where he spent his early education until high school.
School officials and its alumni pooled resources to hand him gifts and vowed to support him all the way in his quest for honors in the 2024 Paris Olympics.
The University of Sto. Tomas, a beneficiary of his sterling achievements in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines, has also bestowed him with honors during his visit.
Obiena also held a meet-and-greet event with his fans at a Makati mall with the support of his apparel sponsor.
He also met with prospective private backers.
“Pursuing these opportunities is important to me. I have long advocated a great presence of private sector support for athletes. This has a dual-benefit. It not only brings more funding to needy athletes; but it also helps ease the burden on the Filipino taxpayer.”
Obiena will head back to France where he will train for his goal to break the six-meter barrier.