By KRISTEL SATUMBAGA
The road to the historic silver medal at the 2023 World Athletics Championships didn’t come easy for EJ Obiena.
Despite the vitamins he has been taking, Obienna confessed that he fell ill two weeks ago due to Corona virus (Covid), denying him significant hours and days to practice for the prestigious event.
The world No. 3 pole vaulter disclosed this on Sunday, Aug. 27, hours after sharing the podium with world champion Armand Duplantis and bronze winners Kurtis Marschall and Chris Nilsen in Budapest, Hungary.
“Life is like a rose,” Obiena wrote in a lengthy social media post.
“A mere two weeks ago, the thorns got to me. I was sick with Covid. I lost almost two weeks of heavy training, and I started to question why I got the thorns,” he added.
A two-minute video accompanied the post, which, Obiena said, he filmed during quarantine.
“This video will not come out if I don’t (get to the) podium,” he said on the video.
“Right now, it’s a question if I’ll be physically able to compete among the best of the best in the world. I’m just praying to God that there’s a reason why this is happening.”
“It’s mentally taxing right now, knowing that I might just have the best season of my career but come the major championships, I got sick and got Covid. It’s tough.”
Fortunately, the 27-year-old Tondo native recovered in time for the qualification round last Wednesday, Aug. 23, where he cleared 5.75 meters to advance to the finals last Saturday, Aug. 26.
Obiena matched his own Asian record of 6.00m to claim silver behind Duplantis, 6.10m.
It surpassed his previous historic feat in Eugene, Oregon last year, where he landed the bronze medal.