Filipino pole vault ace EJ Obiena’s alma mater, Chiang Kai Shek College, has vowed to support his quest for glory in the Paris 2024 Olympics.
The road begins with qualifying tournaments for the biggest sporting spectacle.
On Wednesday, Obiena was given a warm welcome by the CKSC community on his return to the country for a short vacation.
“It really feels good to be back here. I won’t be a person like me today if not for my beloved school and the community,” said Obiena, who was met by school and alumni association officials.
CKSC Alumni association president Benjamin Tan said the school community will be in full support for Obiena in his training and competitions prior to and all the way to the Olympics in Paris.
“The amount is not important, we pledge our support to EJ,” he said.
Obiena, currently the world no, 2 in the world, was accompanied by his German girlfriend Caroline Joyeux and parents Emerson and Jeanette, who was also an alumnus of the same school and current coach of the track and field team.
Obiena will go back to Europe next week and prepare the laid-out plans to compete in big tournaments before going to Paris.
“Hopefully by then, I’d be able to jump six meters already. I would love to be the first Asian to jump more than six meters. I do believe in my ability, I‘ll really try hard to get that magic number. I really believe that’s coming soon, added Obiena.
CKSC president Judelio Yap said the CKSC community helped Obiena keep going even at his lowest point. “And we will continue to support him all the way to Paris.”
“It was never expected. They knew I was in need, the alumni stepped in. They just get me going for the next eight months. The biggest chunk of my expenses was shouldered by a few men here. I will not have a successful season without them,” said Obiena, who was coming off a fruitful season where he harvested 12 golds, two silver, and three bronze medals in the last eight months.
“I really take this opportunity to thank you again., I really do appreciate everything.”
Obiena capped his season with a second consecutive first-place finish in Gala dei Castelli in Switzerland. where he set a new tournament record of 5.81 meters, beating world No. 2 Christopher Nilsen of the United States, who tallied 5.71m.
A day before Obiena made 5.81 meters to rule the Golden Fly Series in Liechtenstein. After a successful season, the 26-year-old Obiena arrived in Manila on Thursday.
His most memorable stint was a big win over world champion and Top 1 Armand Duplantis in the Memorial Van Damme.
Obiena studied at CKSK in Tondo, Manila from pre-school up to high school before he was recruited to play for the University of Sto. Tomas in the UAAP.