After giving the Philippines its first medal in the 2022 World Athletics Championships in Eugene, Oregon, pole vaulter EJ Obiena is back in competition mode as he joins the Silesia Kamila Skolimowska Memorial at the Stadion Śląski in Chorzów, Poland early Sunday morning.
In a radio interview yesterday, the 26-year-old world No. 3 revealed that he will will compete against the likes of world champion Armand Duplantis of Swede and Chris Nilsen of the United States.
Duplantis took the gold with a record-setting leap of 6.21 meters while Nilsen placed second with a 5.94.
The 6-2 Obiena had to settle for third with the same effort but the 5.94 was a new Asian record.
“I’m gonna compete on 6 August (7 August in Manila) in Silesa with the likes of Nilsen, Mondo (Duplantis) and Thiago Braz,” Obiena said.
“It’s a competition I’m looking forward to. Most of the finalists in Oregon are gonna be there so it’s going to be another world-class competition.
Braz, his training partner in Formia, Italy and the 2016 Rio Olympics champion, landed fourth in Oregon.
Obiena is in pursuit of making it past six meters in the men’s pole vault.
Obiena said his Ukrainian coach, Vitaly Petrov, is making sure he peaks at the right time in his attempts.
“Peaking at the right time and the right place is definitely important. With my coach, he has all the experience that he needs to prepare me in multiple competitions,” Obiena said.
“But there’s a limit to what I can do in a certain quality. Each individual’s different and I believe I’m still at the prime of my peaking at this season.”
Meanwhile, Obiena could see himself back into the national team pool with both the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) and Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association (Patafa) working together to complete his reinstatement.
Patafa chief Terry Capistrano told the PSC that the 26-year-old Obiena’s recent victories in the 31st Southeast Asian Games in Hanoi and the 2022 World Athletics Championships in Eugene, Oregon was the basis of the proposal.
PSC executive director Atty. Guillermo Iroy, Jr. welcomes the idea as long as it abides within the policies and bylaws of the national sport association.
“I see no problem with the endorsement, EJ deserves to be back in the team,” Iroy said.
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