Grand plan: EJ-Mondo showdown in Tagaytay  

Joey Villar - The Philippine Star
Grand plan: EJ-Mondo showdown in Tagaytay   
EJ Obiena, left, and Bambol Tolentino.
STAR / File

MANILA, Philippines — World-class pole vault competition, featuring the best of the best, with Taal Volcano as backdrop.

Filipino star vaulter EJ Obiena himself, with the backing from Philippine Olympic Committee president Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino, is to pursue this giant event, eyeing a dream cast including World No. 1 Armand “Mondo” Duplantis and No. 2 Chris Nilsen.

The World No. 3 from the Philippines is also looking to tag along 2016 Rio Olympics gold winner Thiago Braz of Brazil in a planned star-studded affair to be witnessed by the Filipinos for the first time.

“The objective is to bring them here after the outdoor season’s over,” said Obiena, who is in the country for a vacation.

After being told of this, Tolentino, who is also the mayor of Tagaytay City, readily agreed to host the event.

“The Picnic Grove here could be an ideal venue,” said Tolentino.

The setup will be similar to the format done in Europe – a street venue where the runway, the box, crossbars and landing area are all portable or collapsible.

“With the Taal Volcano as backdrop, what more could you ask for – a world-class pole vault action in one of the most picturesque tourist attractions in the country,” said Tolentino. “Every jump will be postcard-perfect.”

The European outdoor season ends in early September and with the Asian Games in Huangzhou set on the same month next year, Obiena and Tolentino are looking at late September or early or mid-October as a potential date.

“The event will be a spectator-friendly event, and it’s planned to be sanctioned (by World Athletics),” said the Asian record-holder.

“It’s great for tourism and the Philippines will be in the international pole vaulting map,” said Tolentino. “It’s very doable despite next year’s busy schedule. It’s going to be a big event so we have to plan this carefully.”


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