EJ Obiena makes history as first Filipino to receive Olympic Games Paris 2024 Athlete Sponsorship

Decorated pole vaulter EJ Obiena of the Philippines will be part of Team Visa for Paris 2024. Ranked number two in the world, Obiena was revealed to be part of the 117 athletes by the worldwide payment technology partner of the Olympic and Paralympic Games Paris 2024.

Obiena is the first Filipino to receive the scholarship from the World Athletics, formerly known as the International Amateur Athletic Federation.

Visa aims to empower athletes and has supported sports globally and locally, having been an official partner of the Olympic Games since 1986. In the previous Olympic Games, Visa in the Philippines had sponsored top gymnast Carlos Yulo.

EJ Obiena for Team Visa [PR photo]
EJ Obiena for Team Visa [PR photo]

“Visa has always been committed to supporting Filipinos, not just in enhancing the payments and money movement ecosystem, but also in supporting our countrymen who have shone and carried our national pride in sports. We are very proud of EJ Obiena’s world-class achievements and believe that he will shine in this coming Paris 2024. His efforts to help his fellow Filipinos in nation-building through sports are commendable and Visa stands with him on that journey through the Olympics,” Jeff Navarro, Visa Country Manager for the Philippines, stated.

The humble pole vault sensation

Obiena has won a total of seven gold medals in the pole vault event at the Asian Games, Asian Athletics Championships, Universiade, and the Southeast Asian Games. He also won one silver and one bronze from the World Athletics Championships. Most recently, Obiena was awarded the Philippine Sportswriters Association Athlete of the Year Award in January 2024.

He is one of only 28 pole vaulters in the world who has cleared the elusive six-meter mark, one of the most elusive barriers in elite athletics, doing so twice and being the first Asian to accomplish this.

Obiena has advocated for the development of sports programs in the Philippines and has donated some of his earnings to create more pole vault facilities in the country. A proud Filipino, he has even turned down several naturalization opportunities from other countries to retain his nationality and represent the Philippines as an athlete.

“I am fighting to bring honor and glory for my country. Others fight for ego, or power. But that’s not me. I fight for higher principles. Loyalty is a virtue. And loyalty still matters,” Obiena said. “Thank you to Visa for entrusting me to be part of the elite Team Visa family of athletes from all around the world, and I will do my utmost best to win in the coming Paris 2024”.

A look into Team Visa for Paris 2024

The Team Visa athlete program has championed more than 600 Olympic and Paralympic athletes selected based on their athletic achievements and community involvement since 2000. They were also selected based on the core values of Visa which includes equality, access, and inclusion.

For Paris 2024 Team Visa, 117 Olympic and Paralympic athletes from 60+ markets were selected including eight new markets such as Austria, Armenia, Belgium, Cyprus, Malta, Slovakia, Uzbekistan, and Honduras. The Team Visa program has also become even more inclusive, with athletes ranging from ages 15-48 years old, and the highest percentage of women athletes in the program’s history.

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