Updated: Oct 18, 2021
Looking back at the 18th episode of The Globally Ballin Podcast, before snatching the Gold medal for Pole Vault in the 2019 SEA Games, the show was visited by Ernest Obiena, one of the many Filipino hopefuls to bring the country their first gold medal.
Ernest is the type of athlete with long-term end goals while still maintaining a mind that is focused on the present; this has been an advantage for him mentally. Because of this mindset, Obiena limits the amount of pressure put upon himself. Instead, he focuses on completing the tasks at hand.
“I’m thinking right now that my radar is [on] the SEA Games, but you know, the end goal is Tokyo (Olympics),” he said.
“Even if you’re in the statistics and [one of] the best there is, when you make a mistake in the meet, you’re done,” he added when asked about the expectations placed upon him to easily win at the (then) upcoming SEA Games.
While, at the time, he warned the listeners to never be too sure of the outcome, he still came through and did not disappoint his kababayans. Obiena did, in fact, walk away with the Gold and stood upon the highest podium following his efforts at the SEA Games held in the Philippines last December 2019.
At the early age of 16, Obiena began representing the Philippines in such international and grand competitions as the Asian Games, SEA Games, Asian Champions. In addition to these more regional competitions, Obiena, also, representing the Philippines in worldwide competitions as well.
However, as an athlete, he has also had his share of downfalls. In 2017, Obiena, while training one day before his departure for the SEA Games in Malaysia, he tore his ACL and MCL. This injury took him 8 months to physically rehabilitate. In addition, it took him quite a few years to mentally trust himself that he can run again.
“It was tough, to be honest, when I started back, all I had in mind was to represent the University in the local competitions and just to have that degree,” he said.
Listen to the full episode and interview with Ernest Obiena with the link below:
Now that he has fully recovered, he has been training overseas to prepare for the Tokyo Olympics. He continues to do prepare as the Olympics have been pushed to the summer of 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I don’t really know how it feels (to be the first to win a gold medal for the Philippines), but I just know that it’s going to be a fulfillment for everything I have been working for,” he said.
As the Philippines’ model for Track and Field and, specifically, Pole Vault, Obiena has been working on and trying to talk to corporations to make the sport accessible for the people who want, especially for the athletes who have a lot of potential in eventually medaling in the Olympics.
Ernest Obiena is studying Electronics Engineering which, he stated, he wants to pursue after his athletic stint. Currently, he is in Centro di Preparazione Olimpica di Formia, preparing and training for the Tokyo 2021 Olympics.
Among other Filipino athletes such as Hidlyn Diaz (former guest of the Podcast, Episode 9), Carlos Yulo, and Eumir Marcial, Ernest Obiena remains one of the best chances for the Philippines to score their first gold medal in Tokyo in 2021.
This piece was written by Carla Molina, a common contributor for Globally Ballin check out the link below to see all the articles by Carla Molina that revisit past episodes of the network in bring the story of the guests to article form as well.