Asia's top pole vaulter EJ Obiena plans to use the P250,000 incentive he is set to receive from the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) to help former sprint queen Lydia de Vega who is battling cancer.
Obiena, who recently won a bronze medal in the 2022 World Athletics Championships, is thankful for the support he is getting and has decided to pay it forward.
"I have just learned of the plans of PSC to reward me with 250,000 pesos incentive for breaking the Asian Record. This is deeply appreciated, and certainly needed since my funding is still yet to be sorted, despite the mediation agreement," said the Tokyo Olympian in a social media post.
"However, on the flight back to Italy, it occurred to me that despite my own training needs, Mam Lydia needs this money more than I do. So, I am hereby pledging to gift these 250,000 pesos once paid, directly to the family of Lydia De Vega for her medical expenses."
De Vega, 57, is in critical condition after undergoing surgery earlier this month.
Obiena also revealed that his adviser James Lafferty plans to match his donation and will extend a P250,000 help to the ailing sprinter.
"In discussing this with my team upon arrival in Italy, I am also pleased to announce that James and Carol Lafferty, my advisor, and my nutritionist respectively, will match my contribution of 250,000 pesos," he said.
Obiena cleared 5.94 meters to set a new personal best and Asian record en route to winning the bronze medal in the Worlds.
"The success in the recent World Championships is not all mine. I owe a debt of gratitude to many, " he said.
"I am also here today because I am standing on the shoulders of giants. The legends of Philippines Athletics who paved a way for me. Who brought attention and success to athletics... 39 Years ago, was the first-ever World Championships in 1983. Our leading participant in those inaugural World Championships was the legendary Lydia De Vega."
"So, in total, Team Obiena will pledge 500,000 pesos to Mam Lydia and her family. We hope this makes a difference and gives Mam Lydia added strength to battle this horrible disease. God bless you and give you strength Mam Lydia."