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Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Journey to summit continues for Obiena, Filipinas

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ASIA’S best pole vaulter Ernest John Obiena and the Philippine Women’s National Football Team may have treaded different paths in the 32nd Southeast Asian Games in Cambodia.

But their mission and end goal remain the sam— reach the Summit.

Obiena’s record-smashing SEAG show

The world’s no. 3 pole vaulter made a splash in the rain at the Morodok Techno National Stadium, where he obliterated the competition and his own record of 5.46 meters with a leap of 5.65 in the competition delayed for over an hour by the heavy downpour. It was his third straight pole vault gold medal in a domination that began during the 2019 SEA Games in the Philippines.

“It feels good. I needed something to make it personal, man. I was done, I wanted to finish, but there was some, not so good development, (that) had to push me. That if stuff gets going, we get tough, right?” said Obiena, whose #thirstforgold was fueled by the judges’ decision of stopping play for everyone during the rain, soon after EJ made his jump in the wet conditions. When the rain stopped, they proceeded, with EJ’s rivals clearly getting better jumping circumstances.

Ernest John Obiena

The 27-year-old Obiena, with a career best 5.94, said he could have aimed for a higher mark, but was already exhausted from the long wait and the slippery ground and pole.

“Maybe I should have, I could have (gone higher), but it’s early in the season,” added Obiena, obviously preparing for the start of the indoor season.

Next stop for Obiena is the 5th Irena Szewinska Memorial at the Zdzislaw Krzyszkowiak Stadium in Bydgoszcz, Poland in June, the Asian Athletics Championships in Pattaya, Thailand in July, the Asian Games in Hangzhou, China in September, plus a sprinkling of continental tournaments in Europe in his bid to qualify again for the Olympics next year in Paris.

“The Olympics, that’s the goal,” said Obiena.

Filipinas” journey to summit of FIFA World Cup

The Philippine Women’s National Football Team, also known as the “Filipinas” made history in the AFC Women’s Asian Cup in India in 2021 by reaching the semifinals and qualifying for the FIFA Women’s World Cup for the first time ever.

It’s an achievement that no Philippine team, men or women, has done before, made the more impressive by the fact that the world’s no. 53-ranked Filipinas made the cut when other Asian countries with a better ranking, like two-time World Cup qualifier (no. 44) Thailand and one-time qualifier (no. 37) Chinese Taipei, couldn’t.

PH Women’s Football Team

The Filipinas may have failed to finish in the podium in the 2023 SEA Games, but the experience will only make them stronger.

Plus, they know they can play – and beat—the region’s best as the Filipinas had defeated the SEA Games’ eventual champion in Vietnam via a 2-1 score in the elimination round, in what coach Alen Stajcic called as “their best performance in the tournament.”

“We saved our best performance against our toughest opponent,” said Stajcic.

Prior to this, the Filipinas handed their fellow World Cup-bound Vietnam a 4-0 spanking in the AFF Women’s Championships in Manila last year.

Stajcic said the SEAG campaign hardly put a dent in their preparations for the FIFA Women’s World Cup.

“This has no effect in our preparations. It’s just another group of matches in an experienced group,” said Stajcic, who can now focus on the team’s campaign in the FIFA World Cup, jointly hosted by Australia and New Zealand from July 20 to August 20.

Hidilyn Diaz shares dream of Obiena, Filipinas 

Olympic gold medalist Hidilyn Diaz shares the dream of Obiena and the Filipinas, even though she already reached the Summit during the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, because that’s what champions do—go for the best version of themselves.

Diaz already began her qualifying journey after finishing fourth overall with a 221-kg lift in the Asian Weightlifting Championships in Jinju, South Korea recently.

Considering that it was her first time to compete in the heavier 59-kg class, Diaz’s campaign was a relative success, as weightlifters in all weight divisions are looking to finish inside the top eight to automatically qualify for the Paris Olympics.

Summit Natural Drinking Water Every Step of the Way

In support of the Philippines’ quest for gold and glory in international competitions, Summit Natural Drinking Water has been behind the Filipino athlete since 2005.

Knowing that the brand has been with Diaz, Obiena and the women’s football team in their #thirstforgold, every step of the way, our athletes are assured that they are not alone in their journey to the #Summit of their dreams.


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