With less than three weeks to go before the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, Filipino pole vaulter EJ Obiena showed that he is peaking at the right time by setting a new national record in the World Athletics Continental Tour in Bydgoszcz, Poland.
Obiena cleared 5.87 meters on Wednesday, June 30 (Thursday, July 1, Philippine time), to surpass his previous outdoor record of 5.85m set three weeks ago in Mossingen, Germany.
The country's first Tokyo 2020 Olympian clinched a silver medal behind American Chris Nilsen, who topped the competition with a 5.92m mark.
Piotr Losek of Poland settled for the bronze with a 5.82m score despite playing in his home court.
The 25-year-old Filipino had a stellar start to 2021 as he broke the Philippine record thrice in the indoor event, closing out the season with a best of 5.85m.
Obiena continues to be a prime bet for a medal in the global sports showpiece to be staged from July 23 to August 8.
In 2019, he reset the Philippine outdoor record thrice and copped the elusive Southeast Asian (SEA) Games gold.
Obiena also won the country's first medal in the 2020 Monaco Diamond League with a bronze finish last August.
He continues to train with Olympic champion coach Vitaly Petrov in Formia, Italy as he ramps up his bid for the Tokyo Games. – Rappler.com
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.