Obiena credits student-athlete life in UST for successful pro career

Luisa Morales - Philstar.com
Obiena credits student-athlete life in UST for successful pro career
EJ Obiena in UST during his homecoming event on Thursday, September 29.

MANILA, Philippines — EJ Obiena has reached greater heights since leaving the University of Santo Tomas a couple of years ago to pursue a professional career in pole vaulting.

From the time he decided to leave the Tigers' den in Espana, Obiena has made a name for himself in the world of athletics. He is now the third-ranked pole vaulter in the world and has since given the country its first-ever medal in the World Athletics Championships.

Despite all his success, Obiena underscored all the help that university life had given him in his current job as a professional athlete.

During his homecoming in UST on Thursday, where he was honored by his alma mater, Obiena spoke of the impact that being a student-athlete in UST had on his life.

"Being a student-athlete teaches you a lot about life, just time management, making sure that things are done in a certain period of time within a certain time and it's a big difference, you know," said Obiena.

"It gets me through my training with all that stress," he added.

Not a stranger to challenges like injuries and controversies off of the track, Obiena had to juggle multiple things while preparing himself for various competitions.

But the 26-year-old was able to hurdle them through the experience of balancing studies and sports back in college. Obiena went as far as saying that life had been more difficult back then as he juggled two roles in pursuing both sports and academic excellence in UST.

"Being a student-athlete is difficult. Trust me, if it's not as difficult it might be a little more difficult than being a professional athlete because you're trying to handle two lives and doing it at the same time is quite stressful," said Obiena.

"And just that sheer determination to get that done, it's a big help for me to keep going forward and keep doing what I do through tough times and just buckle down and enjoy." he concluded.

Obiena has yet to gain his diploma from UST as he felt that it was a "sound decision" to leave university when he did to make sure he was in his prime in the pro ranks.

Still, the accomplished pole vaulter said that he is not closing any doors in returning to school and finishing his degree in Electronics Engineering once the time comes. — With reports from Interaksyon



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