EJ Obiena on post-Tokyo success: 'I needed this badly' | Inquirer Sports
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EJ Obiena on post-Tokyo success: ‘I needed this badly’

By: - Reporter / @MarkGiongcoINQ
/ 05:35 PM September 18, 2021
EJ Obiena Paris Diamond League

The Philippines’ Ernest John Obiena, who came second, competes in the men’s pole vault event during the IAAF Diamond League athletics meet at the Charlety Stadium in Paris on August 28, 2021. (Photo by Lucas BARIOULET / AFP)

MANILA, Philippines—EJ Obiena needed affirmation after failing to meet expectations in his maiden Olympics in Tokyo last month.

Obiena placed 11th in the Games where he was tipped as a potential podium finisher.

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The disappointing campaign affected Obiena but the setback further lit up the fire in his belly.

“I was down after Tokyo, questioning what happened. Why was I not performing as well as I should have, I believe I could have. That haunts me,” said Obiena on Noli Eala’s Power and Play.

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“I just needed to have some kind of sign that I am actually capable, I’m actually good, I’m actually able to do all of this that I have set out to do,” he said.

The first sign came in Paris last month when he won the silver medal behind reigning Olympic champion Mondo Duplantis and re-set the national mark at 5.91m in the Diamond League.

Then the validation followed two weeks later in Austria in the Golden Roof Challenge where he broke a 29-year-old Asian record with a 5.93m clearance that came with a gold medal.

“I needed to measure that I can actually pull this off and I want to have some sense of accomplishment this season because the biggest competition was Tokyo and it wasn’t pleasant. Therefore, I really needed this badly,” said the 25-year-old world No. 5.

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