Pole vaulter is first Pinoy bet in 2022 Tokyo Olympics
EJ Obiena
Pole vaulter is first Pinoy bet in 2022 Tokyo Olympics
Joey Villar (Philstar.com) - September 4, 2019 - 10:33am

MANILA, Philippines – Pole vaulter EJ Obiena has become the first Filipino qualifier to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Obiena cleared 5.81 meters in a competition in Chiara, Italy Tuesday night to earn a slot to the quadrennial games while further enhancing his chances of claiming his very first gold medal in the Southeast Asian Games in New Clark City in Capas, Tarlac late this year.

The recent effort eclipsed the national record of 5.76m which the 23-year-old Obiena himself set in the 30th Summer Universiade in Naples last July.

It was actually the third time that Obiena reestablished the Philippines mark, the first coming last April in the 23rd Asian Athletics Championships in Doha, Qatar, where he registered 5.71m.

In between his European campaign, Obiena also struck gold in the Citta di Padova Atletica Mondiale 2019 in Padua, Italy, where he submitted 5.55m also in July that should bode well for his bid help the country win a gold in the biennial meet.

And Obiena should be a favorite in the upcoming Southeast Asian Games considering that the current SEAG standard is 5.35m — owned by Thai Porranot Puraong, who set the record in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia two years ago.

Interestingly, Puraong deprived Obiena his first SEAG gold medal and wound up with just a silver.

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