After his results at a tournament in Italy, EJ Obiena was ecstatic as the first Filipino to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Obiena completed 5.81 meters in Salto Con L’asta’s men’s pole vault in Piazza Chiari 2019, exceeding the qualification level of 5.80 meters.
Obiena said he’s “super” pleased that his hard work has paid off after all the difficulties and hardships he’s been through. Obiena endured a tear from an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in 2017 which left him out of the sport for six months.
But he returned stronger and since 2018 he has been coaching with Ukrainian coach Vitaly Petrov. Petrov educated legend pole-vaulting and Sergei Bubka, champion of the Olympic Games. Obiena was in Italy alone, targeting the world championships in Qatar this year from September 28th to October 3rd.
Besides the Japanese Olympics, Obiena is also aiming for the late November Southeast Asian Games to begin in the nation.
Now, after his 5.81 record, Obiena is ranked 10th in pole-vaulting in the globe.