EJ Obiena advanced to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics men’s pole vault final after making it to the top 14 athletes in the qualifying round on Saturday, July 31, at the Olympic stadium.
Making a last ditch effort, Obiena came through to clear 5.75 meters in his final attempt, where a foul would have denied him of a berth.
The world’s top pole vaulter will vie for a medal on Tuesday, August 3, at 6:20 pm, Philippine time.
Obiena, ranked world No. 6, had perfect runs in clearing 5.50m and 5.65m, but committed two fouls on the 5.75m height before completing it with a clutch performance.
Among the top contenders who also advanced to the final round were world No. 1 Armand Duplantis of Sweden, 2016 Rio de Janeiro champion Thiago Braz of Brazil, and 2012 London winner Renaud Lavillenie of France.
Obiena is coming off a hot campaign in the outdoor season, resetting the national outdoor pole vault record twice, which is now at 5.87m.
The 25-year-old pole vaulter, the first Filipino to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, also kicked off the year eclipsing the Philippine indoor pole vault record thrice.
He has been living in Formia, Italy since 2014 to train with multi-titled coach Vitaly Petrov and 2016 Rio Olympic gold medalist Thiago Braz. – Rappler.com