EJ Obiena, using ‘20 steps,’ opens Olympics prep in Europe
Newly minted Asian pole vault champion EJ Obiena didn’t want to dive into the details on how exactly he will be preparing for the Summer Olympic Games next year, but made it clear that it will be all about the gold in Paris.
“I can’t tell everything or basically tell you the plans we’re having, but I can say that it’s gonna be a lot of hard work, a lot of precise sessions and precise timing of certain things. There’s not gonna be a lot of big technical adjustments. I think I’m sticking to 20 steps going into Paris,” he said in a meet-and-greet arranged by his sponsor, Allianz, on Tuesday afternoon.
Those 20 steps he didn’t necessarily rattle off have worked well for him.
“It’s my first year doing it, and it definitely showed its potential. I was able to jump 6 meters twice—pretty consistent at 5.90 (meters). And yeah, I think my decision last year to 20 steps with the endorsement of my coach was the right move,” he went on.
Obiena, who reset the continental record in the Hangzhou Asian Games on the way to capturing the gold medal, has made the top Olympic prize his main goal for next year.
The Tondo, Manila, native said he will have “six more days to live a little, have fun and be a normal person” before leaving for Europe on Oct. 15 to start his quest for the Olympic gold.
“Last year I wanted to be world No. 2, and I’m world No. 2 now, so yeah. We’re aiming for that gold come Paris,” he said. “I don’t go to meets to go third, second—or just participate. My goal is to win and I’m gonna do all that I can to increase or solidify my chances, coming to Paris.”
Winning in the glitzy fashion capital next year would mean beating world No. 1 Mondo Duplantis of Sweden, and a host of others led by Chris Nielsen of the United States.
Obiena already owns a victory over Duplantis this year and knows exactly what it will take to do that again.