Filipino pole vaulter EJ Obiena took home a silver in the 13th Trivento International Meeting in Trieste, Italy early Tuesday (Manila time) formally opening his buildup to the Tokyo Olympics next year.
Obiena, recuperating from a back injury, cleared 5.45 meters in his first competition since the pandemic broke out.
He finished ahead Italy's Max Mandusic (5.35 meters) and
behind Olympic champion Thiago Braz de Silva of Brazil (5.50 meters).
"We're delighted with that victory especially after FJ came off a 5-month lockdown and had undergone treatment for the back," said Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association (PATAFA) chief Philip Ella Juico.
The height Obiena cleared was the same clearance he achieved when he won gold in the 2019 Southeast Asian Games at home.
Juico believes Obiena will improve in time as he continues to heal from his back injury.
He added that the Filipino pole vaulter will also need to get used with the new normal in sports.
"The new pandemic-related protocols some of which were carried out shortly before the actual competition caused some sort of distraction not just to EJ but most competitors," said Juico.
Obiena will next compete in the Diamond League on August 14, as part of his preparations for the rescheduled Olympics.
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