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Saturday, July 13, 2024

Obiena begins training camp for Paris Olympics

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Ernest John “EJ” Obiena, the Philippines’ pole vault sensation and the world’s second-ranked pole vaulter, has officially kicked off his training camp in preparation for the highly anticipated Paris 2024 Olympics.

Obiena, who narrowly trails reigning Olympic champion and no. 1 Armand Duplantis of Sweden, announced on his social media platforms: “So it begins. Olympic season’s first training camp has officially started.”

The first phase of his training camp will take place in La Nucia, Spain, under the guidance of legendary Ukrainian coach Vitaly Petrov.

Having previously coached world champions like Sergey Bubka, Yelena Isinbayeva, and Giuseppe Gibilisco, Petrov has been instrumental in transforming Obiena from a young talent from Tondo into a world-class pole vault athlete since 2014.

Obiena’s stellar performance throughout the current year has solidified his standing as a force to be reckoned with in the pole vaulting realm.

His remarkable achievements include setting a new record of 5.91 meters at the Asian Athletics meet, surpassing his previous record of 5.71 meters set in 2019.

He secured his ticket to Paris after clearing 5.82 meters in the BAUHAUS-Galan leg of the Diamond League in Stockholm, Sweden.

Breaking new ground, Obiena joined the elite 6-meter club, becoming the first Filipino and Asian athlete to clear this height twice.

This accomplishment was achieved first in Norway at the Bergen Jump Challenge and later at the World Athletics in Budapest, Hungary, where he clinched the silver behind the gold medalist Duplantis.

Obiena’s dominance extended to the regional stage as well, with a triumphant performance at the 32nd Southeast Asian Games in Cambodia last May. There, he set a new meet record with a vault of 5.65 meters, securing his third gold medal in the biennial tournament, before capping off the year with another record-setting feat at the Asian Games in Hangzhou, China.

Reflecting on his achievements, Obiena expressed: “I think it was like icing on the cake to me. This is the biggest job, our country needed it, and it’s my job to bring it.”

In a previous post, Obiena thanked the Philippines for the opportunity to represent the nation, stating, “Maraming salamat Pilipinas sa pagkakataon na iwagayway ang iyong diwa. This dreamer dares to dream.”

The 27-year-old Obiena’s exceptional contributions to sports were recently recognized as he was awarded the “Sports Idol” trophy by Philippine sports journalists during the Siklab Youth Sports Awards held in Taguig City on Monday.


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