Olympic-bound Obiena resumes training after month-long break

Joey Villar (Philstar.com) – October 28, 2020 – 2:46pm

MANILA, Philippines – Tokyo-bound Filipino pole-vaulter EJ Obiena has returned from a one-month break to regular training last Monday with an eye of performing well in next year’s Olympics.

Obiena, 24, spent the last month practically away from the sport as he spent it running, swimming, biking, mountain climbing and playing other disciplines like tennis, volleyball and basketball instead to keep in shape.

Unlike the rest of his training partners including 2016 Rio gold medalist Thiago Braz of Brazil, Obiena sacrificed not going back home and just stayed in Formia, Italy where he has trained since December last year, or after the Southeast Asian Games in Capas, Tarlac.

It proved to be the right decision as Braz and others faced problems going back to training camp as Italy enforced stricter measures for foreign individuals to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Obiena had shown a lot of promise this season as he hauled a total of one gold, a pair of silver and three bronze medals that was highlighted by a personal season-best effort of 5.80m.

It was barely short of his personal best and national record 5.81m he set in Chiara, Italy last year that clinched him a berth to the quadrennial summer games.

And the SEAG gold medal winner and record-holder did that using a 16-stride approach instead of the 18-stride to prevent him from aggravating his back problems.

Obiena is tipped as the Philippines’ strong chance of claiming its first medalist in track and field since Filipino-American Miguel White copped a bronze in the 400m hurdles in the 1936 Berlin Games.

He plans on competing in more indoor competitions in the first quarter of next year as well as in outdoor starting April and leading up to Tokyo where he hopes to hit it big.

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