Hurt Obiena eager to compete in Kuala Lumpur

Gerry Carpio (The Philippine Star) - August 23, 2017 - 4:00pm

KUALA LUMPUR – Athletics president Philip Ella Juico said pole vaulter Ernest John Obiena, who suffered a left knee injury in training in Manila before his departure for Malaysia, was given the nod to compete in the Southeast Asian Games despite doctors advice earlier that he needed a six-month rehab.

Juico flew back to Manila yesterday morning to sign a contract with a Japanese sponsor for the training of his athletes in preparation for the Asian Games next year, the 2019 SEA Games and the 2020 Olympic Games.

While in Manila, he had a talk with the pole vaulter’s father Emerson, who told him his son wanted to compete and the injury was not as serious as he thought.

“He wanted to compete, but I told Emerson, ‘look we are also looking beyond the SEA Games – the Asian Games (2018), Manila SEA Games (2019) and the Olympics (2020). Kung magkakaproblema, h’wag na lang (If we’re going to have problems, let’s not do it),” Juico said.

Obiena, 20, is a cinch to win the gold in the pole vault where his record of 5.61 meters betters the 2015 gold-winning mark of 5.33 until he injured his left knee while in training in Manila prior to his departure for Malaysia on Aug. 19.

Juico said Obiena is set to fly to Kuala Lumpur today in time for his competition in the afternoon.

Juico is also coming back to Malaysia today or tomorrow to be with his 38-strong athletic team.

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