Obiena clears season-best height in France
Ernest John Obiena continues to build his case for the coming 2022 IAAF (International Amateur Athletic Federation) World Indoor Championships and the 31st Southeast Asian (SEA) Games, proving himself worthy of inclusion to the national team despite his burdening split with the Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association (Patafa).
The world’s No. 5 pole vaulter recently cleared a season-best 5.91 meters for a silver medal that reset his own national indoor record at the Perche Elite Tour in Rouen, France.
It was .01m short of erasing the 24-year-old existing Asian indoor record in men’s pole vault owned by Kazakhstan’s Igor Potapovich, who jumped 5.92m in a meet held in Stockholm, Sweden, early 1998.
Aside from the world indoor athletics championships in Belgrade, Serbia, and the SEA Games in Hanoi, Vietnam, Obiena also needs the blessing of the Patafa to participate in the Asian Games in Hangzhou, China, and the world athletics championships in Eugene, Oregon, later this year.
The mark eclipsed Obiena’s victories in the Orlen Cup and Orlen Copernicus Cup in Poland, where he jumped 5.8m both times, which made him eligible to the world indoor championships.
“My 5.81m jump in my two title wins in the Orlen Cup (Feb.13) and the Orlen Copernicus Cup (Feb. 23) both in Poland officially made the standard required for the 2022 World Indoor Athletics Championship and 2022 World Athletics Championship,” Obiena said in his letter to Patafa.
“It is also better than my 2019 SEA Games gold medal standard and the 2018 Asian Games Gold medal standard,’’ he added in his appeal to the Patafa board.
The Patafa has stood pat on its decision to freeze Obiena, more so after the agency got the blessing of World Athletics.
The Philippine Olympic Committee, meanwhile, continues to bat for Obiena’s inclusion. INQ