EJ Obiena

Embattled EJ Obiena returns to action, kicks off season in Berlin meet

Delfin Dioquino
Embattled EJ Obiena returns to action, kicks off season in Berlin meet

COMPETE AGAIN. EJ Obiena is back in action after pushing back his season debut.

Johanna Geron/Reuters

Filipino pole vaulter EJ Obiena goes up against an elite field that banners the likes of world record holder Armand Duplantis and world No. 4 KC Lightfoot in the ISTAF Berlin in Germany

MANILA, Philippines – Whether EJ Obiena can still perform at the highest level months after his last competition will be put to test as the Filipino pole vault star takes part in the ISTAF Berlin in Germany on Friday, February 4 (Saturday, February 5, Manila time).

Pushing back his season debut following his withdrawal from the Init Indoor Meeting in Karlsruhe, Obiena returns to action for the first time since he set a new Asian pole vault record in the Golden Roof Challenge in Austria in September.

Obiena has not competed since as he got embroiled in a rift with the Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association over falsified liquidation reports and underwent successful knee surgery earlier in January.

In the ISTAF Berlin, the world No. 5 Obiena will go up against No. 1 and world record holder Armand Duplantis of Sweden, No. 4 KC Lightfoot of the United States, and No. 7 Piotr Lisek of Poland.

Completing the list of participants are the Netherland’s Rutger Koppelaar and Germany’s Bo Kanda Lita Baehre, Torben Blech and Oleg Zernikel.

Notably missing in the field are world No. 2 Chris Nielsen and No. 3 Sam Kendricks of the United States, and former Olympic champions Renaud Lavillenie of France and Thiago Braz of Brazil.

Pole vault action starts at 12:10 am, Manila time.

After ISTAF Berlin, Obiena will participate in four more events around Europe throughout February: the International Pole Vault Invitationals in Sweden, the Orlen Cup and the Orlen Copernicus Cup in Poland, and the Meeting Hauts-De-France in France. – Rappler.com

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Delfin Dioquino

Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.