Obiena believes he belongs in elite clique
EJ Obiena has cleared the bar of self-doubt. Right after winning the gold medal last week over reigning Olympic and World champions, the Filipino declared to everyone including himself: “I belong here.”
The 24-year-old Obiena, training in Italy and competing with the world’s best in hope to finally help the Philippines win its first Olympic gold in Tokyo next year, followed up his victory on Czech Republic with another podium finish on Friday night at the Poznan Grand Prix in Poland.
He flung himself to 5.52 meters, the same output of reigning world champ Sam Kendricks of the United States and Poland’s Robert Sobera.
But since the American cleared the bar on his first attempt, Obiena had to settle for third in a tie with Sobera, who like him made it in two tries. Hometown bet Piotr Lisek ruled the meet with a 5.72-m effort.
“I’m here because I deserve to be here. It’s not going to be easy but from here on in I walk into every tournament thinking that gold medal belongs to me,” said the 24-year-old Obiena.
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