EJ Obiena braces for tougher tournaments

Pole vaulter EJ Obiena guns for more podium finishes when he competes in two European tournaments next month.

EJ Obiena (AFP)

Still fresh from his historic, record-breaking bronze finish at the World Athletics Championships, the 26-year-old Tokyo Olympian will be up once again with the cream of the crop that include fellow winners Mondo Duplantis of Sweden and Chris Nilsen of the United States in the Kamila Skolimowska Memorial in Chorzow, Poland on Aug. 6.

The Polish meet is part of the prestigious Wanda Diamond League Meet.

Up next would be the Hungarian Athletics Grand Prix in Szekesfehervar, Hungary on Aug. 8.

Obiena’s thirst for more accolades doesn’t stop at the World Athletics Championships, knowing that the competition has become fiercer.

“It’s getting tough. It’s a bit of a contrasting spectrum of emotions. I’m very happy that the sport is progressing, happy that I’m part of the era where the level of pole vaulting is in such a high level, but at the same time, it just shows I need to work a lot harder to reach the things I wanna do and to win championships that I want to win,” Obiena said in Tuesday’s online press briefing.

While the Paris Olympics is two years away, Obiena said he needed to double his efforts to make it to another elite podium.

“That’s the plan. That’s definitely what I want to achieve,” he said.

“Mondo (Duplantis) is definitely a force to be respected, to be reckoned with, and Chris (Nilsen) is a competitor, and everybody else in the field, so if it’s gonna be a medal (in Paris Olympics), I can’t say. Hopefully it will be a better case in Paris.”

Winning more medals is one thing, but reaching the elusive 6.00-meter height is also part of his specific goals.

“There’s a lot of things I wanna do in the sport. It’s a great motivator to move forward, to keep doing what I do. I’m still happy to win the bronze medal but missing 6 meters is like yeah, there’s something I still needed to do,” he said.

“There are only 24 people who have reached that 6-meter mark and I want to be the 25th.”