By KRISTEL SATUMBAGA
Olympic pole vaulter EJ Obiena is not resting on his laurels after a historic silver-medal finish in the recent World Athletics Championships in Budapest, Hungary.
That’s because the world-ranked No. 3 athlete is seeking another podium finish when he competes in the Zurich leg of the Wanda Diamond League in Switzerland on Thursday, Aug. 31.
The 27-year-old Obiena would be facing the same rivals he fought with in Budapest that include world champion Armand Duplantis of Sweden and bronze winners Kurtis Marschall of Australia and Chris Nilsen of the United States.
Also in the lineup are world No. 4 Sam Kendricks, Olympian KC Lightfoot and Zach McWhorter of the United States, world No. 11 Ben Broeders of Belgium, Thibaut Collet of France and Ersu Sasma of Turkey.
So far, Obiena is having the best season of his career, never missing the podium in his last 10 meets including the 32nd Southeast Asian Games (SEAG) in Cambodia last May and the Asian Championships in Thailand last July.
He has also cleared the challenging 6.00-meter mark twice for a new Asian record, including in the world championships a few days ago and has never gone lower than his SEAG mark of 5.65m he established this year.
After Zurich, Obiena is scheduled to compete in the Brussels leg of the Wanda Diamond League on Sept. 8 before concentrating on his bid in the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou, China on Sept. 30.
Already an Olympic qualifier to Paris next year, Obiena is expected to figure well in the medal chase to also erase a disappointing 5.30m performance in the 2018 edition in Indonesia that put him in seventh place.