Filipino pole vaulter E.J. Obienaa finished his first Olympic competition on Tuesday, August 3, at the Olympic stadium, finishing in 11th position in the men’s pole vault event, which was won by Armand Duplantis of Sweden.
E.J. Obiena Olympic Games Tokyo 2020: Established a New National Outdoor Pole Vault Record of 5.87m
Three attempts at 5.80 metres weren’t enough for E.J. Obiena to place in the top 10 of the men’s pole vault final.
On his third try, the Filipino pole vaulter noticed that the bar was shifting as the clock was ticking, so he filed a protest with the field authorities.
He was given a fourth and final shot to beat the Olympic qualifying standard time, but he made a key foul that eliminated him.
E.J. Obiena, the lone Asian in the final, was successful on his third attempt at 5.70 metres before moving on to the more difficult 5.80 metres.
Duplantis, the current world champion and world record holder, won the Olympic gold at 6.02m with ease.
The Swedish athlete tried three times to break his world record of 6.18m by raising the bar to 6.19m, but he was unsuccessful.
Silver went to American Christopher Nilsen, who set a new personal best of 5.97 metres.
Thiago Braz, the Olympic champion from 2016 in Rio who works with E.J. Obiena, won bronze with a jump of 5.87 metres, breaking the Philippine record.
With a successful outdoor season behind him, E.J. Obiena has twice established a new national outdoor pole vault record of 5.87m.
This year has started off with three consecutive Philippine indoor pole vault records broken by the 25-year-old pole vaulter, who is the first Filipino to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
Since 2014, he has made his home in Formia, Italy, where he trains under the tutelage of multi-titled coach Vitaly Petrov and Olympic gold winner Thiago Braz.
As in, Why was EJ Obiena even in Congress?
In his office, House Speaker Martin Romualdez welcomed ace pole-vaulter Obiena and gave him a copy of the resolution issued by the House of Representatives to recognise him for bringing honour and glory to the Philippines.
During the brief event, Obiena, whose given name is Ernest John “EJ” Uy Obiena, was presented with House Resolution (HR) No. 10.
Romualdez assured Obiena, who is training for the 2024 Paris Olympics, that the pair “will be rooting for you, will be praying for you, and applauding for you all the way.”
Obiena thanked the congressman from Leyte’s first district for the enthusiastic reception he received, stating that the House’s show of support motivates him to work even more to improve the country’s reputation.
It’s an honour I truly appreciate. The top athlete expressed gratitude for the House’s support of all Filipino athletes.
In addition to the speaker, the event was attended by Representatives Yedda Marie Romualdez (Party-List, Tingog), Faustino Michael Carlos Dy III (5th Dist., Isabela), James “Jojo” Ang Jr. (Party-list, USWAG ILONGGO), and Jernie Jett Nisay (Party-list, PUSONG PINOY).
Right now, the House of Representatives is on recess for a full month.
Next month, Obiena will turn 28 years old, and he is already being heralded as a top candidate for the Olympic pole vault gold medal. This comes following his victory over the current world record holder in the pole vault at the Diamond League meet in Brussels, Belgium, on September 2, 2022.
Gold medal number one for Obiena was earned at the 26th Internationales Stabhochsprung-Meeting in Jockgrim, Germany, on August 23, 2022. He followed that up by snatching another gold at the True Athletes Classics 2022 on August 28, 2022, in Leverkusen, Germany.
In Jockrim, Obiena began his winning streak of seven meets by clearing 5.81 metres, edging out ten other competitors, including US runner-up Christopher Nilsen (5.71 metres) and Australia’s Kurtis Marschall (3.71 metres) for second and third, respectively.
The Filipino pole vaulter not only won two gold medals, but also met the requirement to advance to the 2023 World Athletics Championships in Budapest, Hungary.
As a result of his bronze medal performance at the 2022 World Athletic Championships in Oregon, USA, Obiena jumped from sixth to third place overall in the men’s pole vault rankings and continued to hold the top spot in Asia.
E.J. Obiena remarked, “I am confident in my talents to compete with the world’s greatest, but something didn’t connect, something was missing, or maybe it just wasn’t meant to be.”