EJ Obiena gets big test in Poland tourney

Published February 17, 2021, 1:54 PM

by Kristel Satumbaga-Villar

File photo from EJ Obiena’s Facebook account

Olympic-bound EJ Obiena clashes anew with pole vault titans Wednesday night (Thursday morning in Manila) when he competes in the prestigious Copernicus Cup 2021 at the Arena Torun in Poland.

In a recent start list, the 25-year-old Obiena will be up against two-time world champion Sam Kendricks of the United States, reigning Olympic champion Thiago Braz of Brazil and former world champion Pawel Wojciechowski of Poland.

Also in the lineup are Polish stars, three-time world championship medalist Piotr Lisek, former European champion Robert Sobera, Russian junior athlete Matvey Volkov and American Matt Ludwig.

Obiena tries to ride on the momentum of his record-breaking performance at the Orlen Cup also in Poland a few days ago where he eclipsed his national indoor mark of 5.86 meters on his third attempt to settle for the silver medal behind Kendricks.

Interestingly, Kendricks also vaulted 5.86m but made it on his first attempt to clinch the gold.

“I’m just gonna go out there and do what I can, try to execute what coach says,” said Obiena in an interview with Radyo Pilipinas, referring to his Ukraininan coach Vitaly Petrov.

Obiena has been showing vast improvement in his previous tournaments. He has broken his national indoor record twice and has so far collected two gold medals.

The event is one of the highest rated tournaments in the indoor season with its gold standard. In Obiena’s previous gold standard tournament at the Meeting-Hauts-de-France Pas-de-Palais in Lievin a week ago, he finished tied for fifth with 5.60m.