Olympic-bound Obiena returns to action since winning 2019 SEAG
Olympic pole vaulter EJ Obiena returned to competitive action Monday after capturing the silver medal in the 13th Triveneto Meet in Trieste, Italy.
Obiena, the country’s first qualifier to the Tokyo Games rescheduled next year, cleared the bar at 5.45 meters in his second and third attempts to settle behind 2016 Rio Olympics gold medalist Thiago Braz of Brazil.
Braz, who happens to be one of Obiena’s training partners in a facility in Formia, leapt 5.50m.
Obiena, who holds the Philippine record of 5.81m he made in an Italian tournament last year, attempted to clear the bar at 5.55m but failed.
Max Mandusic of Italy came in third at 5.35m.
This was Obiena’s first tournament since his record-breaking golden feat at the 2019 Southeast Asian Games where he reset the Games record with 5.45m.
In a radio interview, Obiena admitted it wasn’t the result he hoped for but was glad to shake off the rust after seven months of non-competition due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Seven other pole vaulters competed in the tournament held more than 800 kilometers from Obiena’s training center in Formia.