‘I will give my best’: Pole vaulter EJ Obiena set to begin Olympics bid
MANILA, Philippines—EJ Obiena is set to make his Olympic debut on Saturday in the qualification of the men’s pole vaulting competition of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Ranked no.6 in the world, Obiena will need to get 5.80 meters or at least be in the top 12 of Group A to advance to the finals.
Also in the group are France’s Renaud Lavillenie, the 2012 London Olympics gold medalist and world no.4, and his brother Valentin who is ranked no.8 globally.
“Would need all your help in earnestly praying for my safety and success,” posted Obiena on Facebook. “I will give my best and the rest is up to You, Lord. Keep my mind, my will, and my body strong.”
Obiena, who owns the national indoor record of 5.87m, is seen as one of the Philippines’ best bets for a medal this year after a string of strong performances leading up to Tokyo.
The 25-year-old won two bronze medals in the Diamond League in 2020 and settled for a fourth place finish in 2021.
He also captured the gold medal in the 2019 Asian Championships.
The athletics scene in Tokyo, however, got into heightened alert after two pole vaulters tested positive for COVID-19.
World no.1 Sam Kendricks of the United States, seen as one of the top podium finishers, was one of those who tested positive.
Obiena will compete at Olympic Stadium at 8:40 am.
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