Fine Hygienic Holding, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of hygienic paper products, is proud to share the recent news about EJ Obiena, the gifted young Filipino athlete who recently won the gold medal for the pole vault at the 23rd Asian Athletics Championships in Doha, Qatar, held in the period between 21 to 24 April 2019.
While Fine commends any and all athletes that push themselves and show real skill and determination, its CEO, James Michael Lafferty has a passion and a personal interest in supporting athletes, as well as talented individuals in other fields, and promising entrepreneurs. Lafferty has a long history as a youth track and field coach, and has coached national athletes not only in the United States, but in Nigeria and Philippines. Whilst a CEO in the Philippines, Lafferty was the coach of the National Team for strength and nutrition, whilst his wife Carol led flexibility and yoga training. The Lafferty’s look out for individuals with great potential, and when he met Obiena after moving to Manila several years ago, he decided to begin coaching and spending time with the young athlete to try and show him the path to success, particularly after a debilitating ACL tear in late 2017 threatened his career.
Obiena’s spectacular leap reached a staggering 5.71 metres, earning him a winner’s spot atop the podium ahead of his Chinese rivals. After his win at the Asian Championships, Obiena is now ranked number 7 in the world, qualifying him for the prestigious IAAF “Diamond League” that are held around the globe for the world’s most elite athletes.
As explained by EJ Obiena, “I would not be here today as Asian Champion without James and Carol Lafferty. They were by my bedside after my knee injury and told me they would help me come back, and I would be better than ever. They took me to the gym every week and trained me to come back. They welcomed me in their home, taught me how to eat like a champion and train like one. They have always been there for me. I would not be where I am today without their support.”
Fine has placed a special emphasis on sports in recent months: this is in part due to the fact that its CEO, James Michael Lafferty, is a great believer in its positive effect on teamwork, health, and mind. In addition to making physical activities available to his employees, and engaging sports outreach and healthy lifestyle programs for families in markets where Fine operates, James also spends his free time coaching young athletes in whom he sees potential. It was through this coaching that James met EJ and saw something special in him, and with the help of James he has gone on to accomplish something truly incredible.
“Coaching and working with young athletes is more than just a hobby for me – it is an extension of my personal philosophy. I believe that we can share our knowledge, our talents, and our passions across different fields, and this is also true within Fine,” said Lafferty. “What EJ has done is incredible, and has filled me with pride. My wife and I, who supported and trained EJ, cannot alone take credit for how far he has progressed, nor for the things he has achieved, but we feel honoured to have played a part in his development, and we are confident he will continue impressing us all in the future. Next stop is the World Championships and 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.”
Lafferty went on to address the sporting activities that Fine employees undertake, making specific reference to the benefits and advantages employees and their families could take away from focusing on fitness. “Everyone can benefit in some way from sport, effort, and exercise. I don’t want my employees to spend their lives behind a desk. I want every person at the company to experience the thrill of challenge and competition, and to work together to reach goals. A healthy mind begins with a healthy body, and we will work to ensure every member of the Fine Family is fit and healthy!”