EJ Obiena hopes to clear at least 5.80 meters in time for Tokyo Games

Dennis Gasgonia, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 18 2020 02:52 PM

Filipino pole vaulter EJ Obiena continues his preparations for his Olympic campaign, which so far has resulted in three podium finishes in three different competitions.

Obiena, the first Filipino to qualify for the Tokyo Games, won a silver in the "Who is the Finest Vaulter in the World?" competition after a bronze medal finish at the Wanda Diamond League in Monaco and another silver in the 13th Trivento International Meeting in Trieste, Italy.

The 24-year-old described his recent performances as "fruitful," although he still hopes to win a gold.

"It has been a fruitful two weeks with 3 medals, but the gold remain elusive, hope to get them in the coming competitions," he said in a Facebook post.

"Thank you to all 100 countries who tuned in. Philippines, I hope I made you proud."

He cleared 5.70 meters in Monaco, which is his best output in the three competitions, considering that he went through months of layoff due to the COVID-19 pandemic and a back injury.

Philippine Amateur Track and Field Association chief Philip Ella Juico said Obiena is expected to join more competitions which will serve as a tune-up for Tokyo.

He added that Obiena's recent performances showed what he could do in the Summer Games.

"These competitions are EJ's first set after several months' layoff forced by the pandemic. EJ looks forward to competing as part of his preparations for the Olympics," said Juico.

"All of EJ's competitions, especially the Diamond League... is an Olympic-level competition."

If everything goes as planned, Obiena will get a favorable result in Tokyo, especially if he clears 5.80 meters, noted Juico.

"If nothing catastrophic happens before the Olympics and if he does at least 5.80 meters in the next few months, he should have a very favorable result in Tokyo," he said.

Obiena secured an Olympic qualification with a 5.81 clearance, the national record.

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