EJ Obiena to reflect on future plans

Published August 4, 2021, 2:09 PM

by Kristel Satumbaga-Villar

EJ Obiena

EJ Obiena is taking his time to reflect on his future plans after his debut stint in the men’s pole vault of the Tokyo Olympics Tuesday night.

Obiena, the only Asian in the final, missed the podium after finishing at joint 11th with 5.70 meters behind eventual winner Armand Duplantis of Sweden (6.02m), American Chris Nilsen (5.97m) and 2016 Rio Games champion Thiago Braz of Brazil (5.87m).

“Today pa lang yung alam kong plan. I’m gonna talk to my coach, try to understand what he wants me to do and try to think about what I would want to do. And maybe we can find a way to compromise,” Obiena said during Wednesday’s online press briefing with Manila-based reporters.

“I have no idea yet. Kumbaga di pa ayos, wala pa ako sa ganung lugar sa ngayon.”

Obiena said the experience taught him a lot of things, but admitted that his performance didn’t turn out the way he wanted it to be.

“I gave everything that I can, and I can make peace with that. I wasn’t able to do my best, but I gave it all,” he said.

Though he spent years training in Formia, Italy under Ukrainian coach Vitaly Petrov and competing in elite tournaments with almost the same opponents he faced in Tokyo, Obiena said the Olympic atmosphere was a whole different level.

“Every competition, I look at it as an Olympic final. I always kinda simulate it. I have this idea in my head of what the Olympics is like, but it’s not something that I thought it is,” he said.

“It’s something magnificent, beautiful, splendid, out of this world competition. It’s a different kind of vibe… But at the end of the day, I’m happy to say that now, I’m an Olympian.”

Obiena is thankful for all the support he got since Day 1, adding that he will treasure this moment in his career.

“It’s one heck of a journey. I’ll take it one day at a time,” he said.

The Tondo native is scheduled to return home on Friday.