Despite politics in sports, PH is worth fighting for, says EJ Obiena

Nov 8, 2022
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EJ Obiena in a digital cover for Esquire Philippines.
PHOTO: Cyrus Panganiban/Esquire Philippines

WHILE A lengthy Esquire article did not go into details about EJ Obiena’s much-publicized feud with his national sports association Patafa, its shadow hangs over his interview with the publication.

Despite that painful episode, however, the top-ranked pole vualter is convinced that PH sports is at a “golden age.”

“And this is the time for us to hopefully get better change in the politics of Philippine sports,” he said to Esquire Philippines’ Anri Ichimura. “And it's also setting an example in some shape or form because we've lost a lot of different national athletes that are quite prominent now in their sports, [like] Wesley So and Yuka Saso. All of these people that you know unfortunately need to move away from the country to continue doing the sport that they love.”

EJ Obiena for Esquire Philippines

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Since 2014, So has been representing the United States in chess, and in 2021, officially became a US citizen. Meanwhile, Fil-Japanese Saso confirmed last year that she will choose Japanese citizenship when she turns 22 in 2023.

Obiena confessed that the thought of bolting has occasionally crossed his mind.

“I felt like if I decided to do that, I would be giving an example to the next generation that, when the going gets tough, bounce,” he explained to Esquire.

“Jump ship. And I don't like that idea… It was a tough decision to make. The Philippines is worth fighting for.”

Elsewhere in the interview, Obiena also talks about how ordinary Filipinos inspired his groundbreaking performance in athletics this year. Read the full article on Esquire Philippines here.

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EJ Obiena in a digital cover for Esquire Philippines.
PHOTO: Cyrus Panganiban/Esquire Philippines
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