EJ Obiena clears Olympic standard, becomes first PH bet for Paris 2024 | Inquirer Sports
POLE VAULT

EJ Obiena clears Olympic standard, becomes first PH bet for Paris 2024

By: - Reporter / @junavINQ
/ 05:25 AM July 04, 2023

EJ Obiena pole vault

FILE– Philippines’ EJ Obiena. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

Even as his moment was delayed by rain, EJ Obiena made sure there would be no need to prolong his hunt for an outright Olympic berth.

The Filipino pole vault star cleared 5.82 meters in the Bauhaus Galan event in Sweden on Monday (Manila time) to book a spot in the 2024 Paris Olympics.

“There’s no time to relax. I focus on getting better each day and I just have to continue what I’m doing,’’ said the Italy-based Obiena, who trains under the tutelage of legendary Ukrainian coach Vitaly Petrov.

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“The preparation and training never stop,’’ he added.

Obiena became the first Filipino to secure an Olympic appearance in the glitzy French capital after his performance in the Diamond League event at Stockholm Olympic Stadium, site of the 1912 Summer Games.

“We are very proud of EJ for being the first Filipino qualifier in Paris. The POC (Philippine Olympic Committee) will be all out in its support for him to become successful,’’ said POC president Abraham “Bambol’’ Tolentino.

Obiena was also the first Filipino to qualify for the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, where he finished 11th.

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A post shared by Ernest Obiena (@ernestobienapv)

Accelerated progress

But since Tokyo, progress for the 27-year-old from Tondo, Manila, has accelerated after Obiena reset his personal best many times over, including making the elite six-meter group at the Bergen Jump Challenge in Norway last month.

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The 6-foot-2 son of former pole vault standout Emerson Obiena grabbed a bronze medal in the 2022 World Athletics Championships in Eugene, Oregon in the United States, the first-ever for a Filipino in the prestigious meet.

Obiena, the world No. 3, even defeated world No. 1 Mondo Duplantis during a Diamond League meet in Belgium last year.

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“On behalf of our president Terry Capistrano and the Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association (Patafa), we congratulate EJ Obiena for securing the Paris Olympic slot for pole vault in his first competition during the Olympic qualification window,” said Patafa Secretary General Edward Kho.

After clearing the Olympic standard, Obiena flubbed three attempts at 5.95 m and settled for second behind world record-holder Duplantis, who ruled the meet for the fifth consecutive time in front of his home fans with a 6.05-m effort.

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TAGS: EJ Obiena, Olympics, pole vault

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