EJ Obiena

EJ Obiena battles doubts in road to Olympic redemption

Beatrice Go
EJ Obiena battles doubts in road to Olympic redemption

REDEMPTION. EJ Obiena moves on from his dismal 11th place finish in the Tokyo Olympics.

EJ Obiena's Facebook

'I needed to assert to myself that [the Olympics] was a fluke, that wasn’t me, that wasn’t who I am, that wasn’t what I have been working for,' says EJ Obiena

More than hiking his scoreboard result, Asian pole vault record holder EJ Obiena aims to make a comeback with a renewed mentality after the Tokyo Olympics.

After finishing 11th in his maiden Olympic stint, Obiena admitted on Saturday, September 18, in the Power and Play show that doubts haunted him and he needed to overcome them.

“It was painful to not be able to deliver. But it was the doubts that were haunting me more, giving me all these questions in my head,” shared the Filipino pole vaulter, who reset the national record twice in two weeks.

“I wasn’t myself. I wasn’t really myself even in my daily life. I was doubting myself in the smallest things. I needed to assert to myself that [the Olympics] was a fluke, that wasn’t me, that wasn’t who I am, that wasn’t what I have been working for.”

“It was just something unfortunate that happened on an important day. It drove me to muster what I have accomplished in the past two weeks.”

Obiena recently broke a 23-year-old Asian record when he recorded a 5.93-meter mark in the 2021 Golden Roof Challenge in Innsbruck, Austria, where he also bagged the gold.

He eclipsed the 5.92 mark previously held by Kazakhstan’s Igor Potapovich since 1998.

Two weeks before the Asian record-setting feat, Obiena reset his own national record after leaping to 5.91m in the 2021 Paris Diamond League.

The 25-year-old then crashed in the world’s top 5 pole vaulters after entering the Tokyo Olympics ranked No. 6.

Though Obiena said the pain from the Tokyo Olympics still had a bit of sting, he reassured everyone that he has moved on and will be focusing on a packed 2022 schedule.

“I wouldn’t say that I haven’t recovered, but I have moved on. I’m happy I have a good future moving forward in this sport,” added Obiena.

The pole vault star will see action in the 2022 World Athletics Indoor Championships from March 18 to 20 in Belgrade, Serbia, and will wait for the national team call up for the delayed Vietnam Southeast Asian Games and the 2022 Asian Games. – Rappler.com

Beatrice Go

More commonly known as Bee, Beatrice Go is a multimedia sports reporter for Rappler, who covers Philippine sports governance, national teams, football, and the UAAP. Stay tuned for her news and features on Philippine sports and videos like the Rappler Athlete’s Corner and Rappler Sports Timeout.