FILIPINO pole-vault ace EJ Obiena eyes an outright qualification to next year’s Paris Olympics as he is set to see action in three meets including the 62nd Ostrava Golden Spike today in the Czech Republic.
In Ostrava, the World Championship bronze winner will try to duplicate, if not eclipse, his national and Asian record of six meters he set in the Bergen Jump Challenge in Norway three weeks ago.
The Southeast Asian Games champion will also use it as preparation for his next two tilts where he hopes to clear the Olympic standard of 5.82m as the qualification to Paris for the sport officially starts on July 1.
After Ostrava, the World No. 3’s next two competitions are the Wanda Diamond League’s Bauhaus-Galan on July 2 in Stockholm, Sweden and the Meeting International de Sotteville 2023 on July 7 in France.
If he makes it there, it would be Mr. Obiena’s second Olympic stint after Tokyo two years back.
And there, one of the best, if not the best, athletes the country has produced will shoot for more glory.
On the side, Mr. Obiena will also have a chance to give Armand Duplantis — the reigning world champion and record-holder and Olympic gold winner — a run for his money as the two are both entered in Ostrava and Stockholm.
But the initial goal is the Paris Olympics and Mr. Obiena should be laser-focused in accomplishing the feat more than anything else. — Joey Villar