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Pole vaulter Obiena makes it to Tokyo Olympics

Pole vaulter Ernest John Obiena cleared a new personal best 5.81 meters yesterday during a tournament in Italy, a feat that earned him a slot in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, reported athletics chief Philip Juico.

It was the 23-year-old Obiena’s third straight impressive performance following his victory in the Asian championships last April in Doha, Qatar, and the Universiade in Naples, Italy, last July.

EJ Obiena

EJ Obiena

In Doha, Obiena posted 5.71 meters and in Naples, the University of Santo Tomas Engineering student submitted 5.76 meters.

Obiena’s head-turning showing lately bodes well for the track and field team to the 30th Southeast Asian Games that will be held in the country later in the year.

The Patafa is aiming to match or even surpass the record 13 gold medals won during the 1983 SEAG in Singapore on a team beefed up by a bevy of talent from overseas.

Like Obiena, the vast majority of gold medal hopefuls are training overseas, mostly in the US.

Obiena, son of former national team standout Emerson, has been training the past few months under Vitaly Petrov in Italy.

Petrov used to be the mentor of Olympic champion Sergey Bubka.

The SEAG record is 5.35 meters that was submitted by Purranot Purahong of Thailand during the 2017 edition in Kuala Lumpur. (Nick Giongco)

 

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