President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. met with world no. 3 pole vaulter Ernest John “EJ” Obiena at Malacañang Palace in Manila on Friday.
Several photos of Obiena’s courtesy call on President Marcos were shared on the official Facebook page of the chief executive.
Based on the photos, Marcos was seen awarding a medal to Obiena and delivering a speech.
“PBBM praised Obiena for bringing honor to the country and encouraged him to continue his goal of being the world’s best pole vaulter. Obiena is now ranked third in the world,” according to the post from the Office of the President in Facebook.
Marcos said in his speech during the courtesy call that he is very thankful for the honor that Obiena has given to the country and is willing to give anything that he needs just to make everything much more better results.
“From your president and I think from the rest of the Philippines we are thankful for everything that you have done, on the honor that you have brought to your country. I think that is the greatest tribute that you can give, the greatest service as you are athlete now that you can give to our country is to bring honor to the Philippines.” Marcos said in his speech.
“We look forward to the games in Paris, I hope you do well. If there’s anything that we can do to help you to make the results even better, and to make your training also be adequate, everything that you’ll say to me because what you do is very important,” he added
“Thank you very much and I congratulate not only you, but also those of you who have supported our champion,” Marcos added.
In a Twitter post, Philippine Sports Commission chairman Noli Eala said that President Marcos, during the courtesy call, issued a directive to ensure the welfare of Filipino athletes and provide them with the necessary support.
“President Marcos is a true sportsman and supporter of sports. Warmly welcomed the PSC and EJ Obiena. He gave very simple, clear instructions—let’s help our athletes because what they do is important to our nation. Thank you, Mr. President,” Eala said.
On Tuesday, Obiena also paid a visit to House of Representatives Speaker Martin Romualdez and received a copy of House Resolution 10 honoring the Filipino pole vaulter for bringing pride and glory to the Philippines.
The House resolution commends Obiena for winning two gold medals in the 26th Internationales Stabhochsprung Meeting held in Jockgrim, Germany, and in the True Athletes Classics in Leverkusen, Germany.
From his historic bronze finish in the 2022 World Athletic Championships in Oregon, USA, Obiena rose from no. 6 to no. 3 in the men’s pole vault ranking, while retaining his top spot in Asia.
Obiena is seen as a strong contender for the pole vault gold in the 2024 Olympics after setting a new pole vault world record at the Diamond League in Brussels, Belgium on September 2.
Apart from bagging the two gold medals in the Germany meets, Obiena also met the qualifying standard for the 2023 World Athletics Championships in Budapest, Hungary