WITH an eye at the 2024 Paris Olympics, World No. 5 pole-vaulter Ernest John “EJ” Obiena displayed impressive form as he conquered the L’Aquila leg of the European City of Sports tournament in Italy on Monday.
Mr. Obiena vaulted to 5.85 meters in claiming another title, or just a couple of weeks after striking gold and resetting the Southeast Asian Games record following a 5.46m in Hanoi, Vietnam.
While it was a much impressive effort than his Hanoi performance, it fell short of his personal best 5.93m, which he recorded in the Golden Roof Challenge in Innsbruck, Austria a year ago.
Mr. Obiena later said he’s counting his blessings and gushed at the breathtaking view in front of the Basilica di Santa Maria di Collemaggio.
“It’s not everyday we get to jump in such beautiful places,” Mr. Obiena posted on his Facebook page where he showed his beautiful plaque and the video of his title-clinching vault.
“5.85m for the gold here in La’Aquila, Italy. Such a beautiful venue jumping in front of Basilica di Santa Maria de Collemaggio,” he added.
The Asian record-holder is back in training as he prepares to make it back to the Olympics where he hopes to deliver the country’s first track and field medal in the quadrennial event since Miguel White copped a 400m hurdles bronze in 1936 in Berlin, Germany. — Joey Villar