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Extra precautions for EJ Obiena after 2 rivals test positive for COVID-19

By: - Sports Editor / @ftjochoaINQ
/ 05:26 PM July 29, 2021
Ernest John Obiena from the Philippines clears the bar in the men's pole vault athletics event at the SEA Games (Southeast Asian Games) in the athletics stadium in Clark City, Capas, Tarlac province north of Manila on December 7, 2019.

Ernest John Obiena from the Philippines clears the bar in the men’s pole vault athletics event at the SEA Games (Southeast Asian Games) in the athletics stadium in Clark City, Capas, Tarlac province north of Manila on December 7, 2019. Khongprasit won. (Photo by TED ALJIBE / AFP)

TOKYO—Filipino pole vaulter EJ Obiena and his team are taking no chances anymore.

Terry Capistrano, the Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association (Patafa) secretary general who has been designated team leader of the athletics team in the Tokyo Olympics here has put Obiena and the rest of the squad under heightened precautions after two pole vaulters, including a gold medal prospect Sam Kendricks of the United States tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday.

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“We’re taking a lot of extra precautions now,” Capistrano said. “We’re bringing our own alcohol to Edogawa Stadium, where EJ practices, and we are the ones who wipe down whatever surfaces he will be in contact with. We can never be too careful anymore.”

Capistrano said he hired a van for the team and won’t let Obiena ride the athletes’ bus or the taxis designated as official transport vehicles of the Games.

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As it turned out, the team has made what now seems like a fortuitous decision to remain in Conrad Hotel for the rest of the Games. Obiena and the rest of the track team, which includes sprinter Kristina Knott, were supposed to transfer to the Athletes’ Village a while back.

“We’re lucky we decided to stay here,” Capistrano said.

The latest development that has left some of the top pole vaulters “spooked.” Apart from Kendricks, the world No. 2, German Chiaraviglio of Argentina has also been removed from the start list.

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TAGS: EJ Obiena, PH Tokyo 2020, pole vault, Tokyo Olympics
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