World ranked No. 3 Ernest John “EJ” Obiena of the Philippines added another feather on his cap after he bagged the men’s long jump gold medal after clearing 5.81 meters in the 26th Internationales Stabhochsprung-meeting in Jockgrim, Germany.
He opened the second part of the competition season on a high note, outclassing ten other entries. He bested Christopher Nilsen of the United States and Kurtis Marschall of Australia, who wound up with silver and bronze, respectively. Both registered identical 5.71m.
The feat earned him a qualification spot in the 2023 World Athletics Championship in Hungary.
Obiena celebrates in style
Obiena, on his Facebook post, on Wednesday, said: “Great start for the second part of the season. We got the (gold medal emoji) and then got the standard for next year’s World Champs in Hungary.”
The Filipino pole vault star continued, “Thank you, Jockgrim, for your loud (claps emoji) and (hearts emoji).”
He also reminisced, saying that the Stabhochsprung-meeting was one of his first European meets back in 2016 where he jumped to 5.30m.
Obiena’s next stop will be the Athletissima in Lausanne, Switzerland set on Friday, August 26 (Manila time).
The 26-year-old pole vault champion made history for the country by clinching a bronze in the 2022 World Athletics Championship.
The Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association and the Philippine Sports Commission recently officially reinstated him to the national team following a long controversial rift with former Patafa president Philip Ella Juico, which was settled through a mediation, which the PSC spearheaded.
Obiena, now Asia’s top pole vaulter, has come a long way after experiencing the toughest year in his career having been ousted from the national team.
Came from a hard way
He faced Patafa’s serious allegations over the misuse of liquidation funds that dragged on for several months and cost him participation in the World Athletics Indoor Championships in Belgrade, Serbia in March after his expulsion from the national team.
But the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) intervened and included Obiena in the country’s 31st Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Hanoi, Vietnam, where he defended his gold.
Two months after he and Patafa settled their affairs, Obiena finally got a needed closure when the Commission on Audit (COA) cleared him from the allegations, vindicating him.
The COA notice issued on March 31, 2022, stated that his training funds liquidation amounting to P12,324,114.40 were “in order and that we have not issued any Notice of Suspension nor Notice of Disallowance.”
Obiena’s sterling 2022 season jumpstarted with gold medal victories in the Orlen Cup in Poland on February 12 (5.81m), Orlen Copernicus Cup in Poland on February 23 (5.81m), 31st SEA Games in Hanoi on May 14, European City of Sports L’aquila Leg on May 30 in Italy (5.85m), Taby Stavhoppsgala on June 29 in Sweden (5.92m), and in the World Athletics Championships on July 25 in the USA (5.94), and the 26th Internationales Stabhochsprung-meeting in Jockgrim, Germany (5.81m).