Gold-hunting Obiena adjusts training plans due to outbreak
Nothing can stop pole vaulter EJ Obiena from reaching his dream of bagging the country’s first Olympic gold medal. Not even a global threat brought about by the deadly COVID-19.
The virus outbreak canceled two high-level tournaments Obiena was supposed to compete in as part of his preparations for Tokyo 2020, and his team is regrouping with plans to join competitions and training sessions in California, and in Europe.
“I was ready to compete in these tournaments as I set my sights on Tokyo, but was forced to change plans,’’ said Obiena, the first Filipino who qualified for this year’s Olympic Games, which will open in five months. The Asian and Southeast Asian pole vault champion is being handled by renowned Ukrainian coach Vitaly Petrov.
Obiena, whose personal best is 5.81 meters, was supposed to join the Asian indoor championships last month and the world indoor champs this month—both in coronavirus hot spot China—until these tournaments were called off.
Both events were rescheduled by the World Athletics (formerly IAAF) to protect the health and well-being of the world’s finest track and field athletes.
“My target for Tokyo is gold. Not impossible, but very difficult,’’ Obiena said.