Paris ticket booked, EJ Obiena keeps plan simple: ‘Don’t do anything stupid’ | Inquirer Sports

Paris ticket booked, EJ Obiena keeps plan simple: ‘Don’t do anything stupid’

By: - Reporter / @junavINQ
/ 05:20 AM July 16, 2023

EJ Obiena

EJ Obiena —AFP

BANGKOK—Ernest John Obiena has already secured an exclusive ticket to the 2024 Paris Olympics. So the Filipino pole vault star prefers to play things smart for the rest of the year, without looking to far ahead.

“For this year, I just want to focus first until the Asian Games and we’ll do another program after this season,’’ said Obiena after arriving here after a 17-hour flight from Formia, Italy.


“I don’t really have major plans for the remainder of the year after the Asian Games,’’ he added.


The world’s No. 3 vaulter will be looking to defend his title at the 25th Asian Athletics Championships on Sunday afternoon to give the country something to crow about here in the biggest continental meet in track and field.

Obiena is likewise the highest-ranked competitor in the Asian championships, having erased his personal best and national record several times over since striking gold in the 2019 Doha edition with a 5.71-meter jump.

“My goal is really to jump and compete the best that I can. I do believe I can (win) and I do believe I can do something good. I just have to stay calm. Nothing crazy, don’t do anything stupid, don’t be dumb,’’ said the Italy-based Obiena.

Saudi Arabia’s Hussain Alhizam, who also trains under Ukranian coach Vitaly Petrov in Italy, could be the thorn in Obiena’s gold-retention bid as well as Chinese Bokai Huang and Jie Yao and Japanese Tomoya Karasawa.

Asian record

The 27-year-old from Tondo, Manila, owns the Asian record of six meters he accomplished at the Bergen Jump Challenge in Bergen, Norway last month.

“We had some shakeouts to make the legs go after a long flight. Hopefully, jetlag doesn’t hit. I’m expecting it to hit the day after my competition and when we’re on our way to Monaco,’’ said Obiena.


Petrov, the coach pole vault icon Sergey Bubka, and physiotherapist Antonio Guglietta are here and will also be at the sidelines when Obiena competes in the Monaco leg of the Diamond League on July 21.

“We have prepared for this (Asian championships) and we’re looking forward to jumping higher,’’ said Petrov, who produced three gold medals in the Olympics and six victories in the world championships.

Obiena has already qualified to the World Athletics Championships in Hungary slated on Aug. 19 to 27 and he will compete in a few more tournaments in Europe prior to the 19th Asian Games penciled on Sept. 23 to Oct. 8.

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“We’ll just do off-season training after the Asian Games. I need to make sure I’m injury-free when the [indoor] season [in February next year]comes up,’’ said Obiena.

TAGS: Ernest John Obiena, Paris Olympics

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