No vaccination for EJ Obiena before Tokyo Olympics | Inquirer Sports
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No vaccination for EJ Obiena before Tokyo Olympics

By: - Reporter / @junavINQ
/ 04:34 PM June 15, 2021
EJ Obiena  pole vault sea games

Pole Vaulter Ernest John Obiena wins gold during the 30th Southeast Asian Games at the New Clark City on December 7, 2019. MARIANNE BERMUDEZ/ INQUIR

Concerned that his Olympic buildup might be thrown in disarray, EJ Obiena prefers to skip the process of inoculation against COVID-19 prior to the biggest competition of his career.

Emerson Obiena, his father-coach, revealed that the country’s pole vault celebrity would rather take the vaccine either after the Tokyo Olympics or as soon as the outdoor track and field season ends in October.

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“For now, there’s no time for him to get vaccinated. EJ doesn’t know the effect of the vaccine on his body, so he doesn’t want to take any chances,’’ said Obiena during the Philippine Sportswriters Association forum on Tuesday.

EJ is in the final stretch of his preparation with his renowned Ukrainian coach Vitaly Petrov considering at least two more tournaments for his ward prior to the Summer Games on July 23- August 8.

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“Sometimes, it takes 10 days before your body can adjust to the vaccine. With the Olympics fast approaching, you might find it difficult to train and that will be a setback for your preparation,’’ said Obiena, the finest Filipino pole vaulter during his prime in the 90s.

“He just has to be cautious and take care of himself,’’ he added.

The younger Obiena has been steadily progressing lately after jumping 5.70 meters for the gold medal in the Folksam Athletics Grand Prix in Gothenburg, Sweden that kicked off his outdoor athletics season.

It was followed by a 5.80-meter leap in a silver finish behind Swedish star Armand Duplantis in the FBK Games in Hengelo, Netherlands before winning the gold again by setting a national record of 5.85 meters during the Jump and Fly International Athletics in Mossingen, Germany, all in a span of two weeks.

Duplantis, who clears six meters on a regular basis, is the strongest contender for the gold in Tokyo.

“EJ is not the only competitor in the coming Olympics who can jump 5.85m. I cannot commit at six meters, but he is moving in the right direction,’’ said Obiena, confident that his son’s recent performance can help him reach the Olympic podium.

“He has to be consistent. They can decide later on if they need to adjust more to improve his jump,’’ added Obiena during the weekly forum backed by Smart, Go For Gold, San Miguel Corporation, Pagcor, Amelie Hotel, Milo and Braska.

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Right after a rewarding European indoor campaign a few months back, EJ noticed a crack in one of the transition poles he’s been successfully using, a problem they have to address by bringing in new poles.

Obiena said the poles that EJ should secure are already in transit from the United States and should arrive before his son competes in another series of meets prior to the Olympics.

“He has to familiarize himself with the new equipment, so that when the Olympics comes, everything will be natural for him,’’ said Obiena.

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TAGS: EJ Obiena, PH Tokyo 2020, tokyo 2020, Tokyo Olympics
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