Pole vaulter EJ Obiena thanked a Filipino cartoonist for a tribute artwork for his victory in Belgium.
The cartoonist named Cartoonist Zach posted a an artwork to celebrate Obiena’s championship at the Wanda Diamond League in Brussels, Belgium on September 3.
The 26-year-old pole vaulter defeated world record holder Mondo Duplantis, a recognized pole-vaulting athlete who settled in second place. USA’s Christopher Nilsen settled in third place.
Obiena successfully cleared a 5.91-meter in his third attempt, thus winning another championship in his Europe circuit.
As tribute, Cartoonist Zach posted his artwork that seemed to be inspired by a popular poster of the 1982 science fiction movie “E.T. (Extra-Terrestrial).”
“GOLD,” the caption reads.
The post has since garnered 2,900 reactions, 29 comments and 373 shares on the platform.
Obiena later saw his work. He shared it on his page and thanked the artist.
“Thank you Cartoonist ZACH! Nice one, E.T. inspired,” he said.
This achievement adds to his winning streak in several pole vaulting sports competitions in Europe.
Filipinos also showered him with congratulatory messages on social media.
“We have a pole vaulting champion who chose and still chooses to represent the Philippines. Puso,” one user said.
“Salamat at di ka sumuko para sa Pilipinas. Congratulations,” another user commented.
The government also previously joined in applauding Obiena.
The House of Representatives adopted resolution 317 on August 31 which congratulated the Olympian for his recent podium finishes in pole vaulting.
Other Filipinos, meanwhile, hoped that more Filipinos will recognize Obiena and his fellow athletes’ achievements in other sports.
“I can’t believe this guy is breaking records and the country still focuses on basketball,” one user said.
“Sobrang nakakahiya how the Philippines is snubbing our other athletes excelling in other sports aside from basketball,” another user said.
Prior to this, Obiena also won three golds in the following sports meets in Germany:
- Third gold medal at the St. Wendel City Jump on September 1
- Second gold medal at the True Athletes Classic 2022 in Leverkusen on August 28
- First gold medal at the 26th Internationales Stabhochsprung Meeting in Jockgrim on August 23
These back-to-back victories, however, ended when he finished with a silver medal at the ISTAF 2022 in Berlin, Germany on September 4.
Obiena tried to go for a 5.95-meter jump but managed to clear 5.81 meters.
It was still his sixth straight podium finish in the circuit.
In a separate post on Facebook, Obiena assured his Filipino fans that he’ll continue “pushing and fighting” for the Philippines.
“(silver medal) Here in berlin with 5.81m. A few more competitions before we call it a season. Let’s keep pushing and keep fighting,” he said.