‘Feeling proud’: EJ Obiena thanks supporters after triumphant run in 32nd SEA Games

May 16, 2023 - 6:05 PM
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Southeast Asian Games - Athletics - Morodok Techo National Stadium, Phnom Penh, Cambodia - May 8, 2023 Philippines' Ernest John Obiena reacts during the men's pole vault (Reuters/Kim Kyung-Hoon)

“Feeling proud.”

This was what pole vault king Ernest John “EJ” Obiena said in a Facebook status after ending his journey at the 32nd Southeast Asia Games in Cambodia where he bagged a gold medal and broke his own record three times.

The Olympian shared a clip originally taken by a news outlet that showed him competing at the biennial multi-sports event to clinch the country’s 19th gold medal in the men’s pole vault at the Morodok Techo National Stadium.

EJ also included photos of the event that captured the historic moment.

He cemented his status as the region’s top male pole vaulter anew when he successfully defended his championship title for the third straight year in the SEA Games by clearing 5.65 meters on May 8, Monday.

EJ also cleared 5.55 and 5.60 meters in his prior jumps before outdoing himself in his final attempt.

Last year, the 27-year-old athlete cleared 5.46 meters at the 31st SEA Games in Vietnam.

EJ’s performance came as a prelude to a long outdoor season where the pole vault sensation will be looking to qualify for the highly-anticipated Summer Olympics to be held in Paris next year.

The pole vaulter took to social media to express his gratitude to his supporters and to those who helped him attain gold.

“PILIPINAS, SALAMAT. 32nd SEA Games, you’ve been surreal,” EJ said in a Facebook post.

“Thank you, Cambodia, for the experience, and thank you [to] everyone who has made this possible. Maraming salamat po. Back to the GRIND,” he added.

EJ set his status for that Facebook post as “feeling proud.”

He also shared the same sentiments on his Instagram and Twitter accounts.

EJ previously said he would auction his gold-medal-winning spikes to raise money for Filipino children who practice pole vaulting in a sawdust pit.

RELATED: Triumphant Obiena auctions off winning shoes for kids back home