Filipino Olympian Ernest John “EJ” Obiena kicked off the 2023 pole vault season with a bang by winning a silver medal in the Internationales Springer-Meeting held in Cottbus, Germany, Thursday, January 26 (Philippine time).
Competing against some of the world’s top pole vaulters, Obiena cleared an impressive height of 5.77 meters, narrowly missing the gold medal by a mere 5 centimeters.
It was a moment of triumph for the young athlete, who had worked tirelessly to achieve his goal of competing at the highest level.
Obiena’s performance was all the more impressive given the fact that he had to overcome a slow start, having to clear the 5.50-meter bar in three attempts.
However, once he found his rhythm, he sailed over the 5.67 and 5.77-meter bars with ease, in just one attempt each.
Unfortunately, his attempt at the 5.82-meter bar proved unsuccessful, with his body grazing the bar on the way down on his final try.
The gold medal in the event was ultimately claimed by American Sam Kendricks, who cleared the 5.82-meter bar in his first attempt. Belgian Ben Broeders rounded out the podium, claiming the bronze with a clearance of 5.72 meters.
Ernest John (EJ) Obiena pockets the silver medal in the Internationales Springer-Meeting held in Cottbus, Germany, Thursday, January 26 (Philippine time). EJ OBIENA FACEBOOK PAGE PHOTO
Despite the disappointment of missing out on the gold, Obiena was still able to take away a valuable medal from the competition. Reflecting on his performance, he wrote on his Facebook page, “2023 Indoor Season Opened. Silver medal here in Internationales Springer-Meeting with 5.77m. Cottbus you are amazing.”
Senator Christopher “Bong” Go, chairperson of the Senate Committee on Sports, took to Facebook and congratulated Obiena.
Go said, “Ngayong 2023 ay magiging abalang muli si EJ. Kabilang sa kanyang mga lalahukang kumpetisyon ang 32nd Southeast Asian Games sa darating na Mayo sa Cambodia, Asian Games, at ang World Athletics Championships, bukod pa ang ibang torneo (In 2023 EJ will be busy again. His upcoming competitions include the 32nd Southeast Asian Games this coming May in Cambodia, the Asian Games, and the World Athletics Championships, among other tournaments.)
Obiena, who holds both the national and Asian record of 5.94 meters, set the Asian record last year at the World Athletics Championships held in the United States. His achievement made him the first Filipino to win a medal in the prestigious event.
This silver medal in the Internationales Springer-Meeting serves as a reminder of Obiena’s immense talent and potential, and fans of the sport can look forward to seeing him continue to make waves in the pole vaulting world in the months and years to come.
EJ had always been passionate about pole vaulting, and from a young age, he dedicated himself to training and perfecting his craft.
As he grew older and more skilled, he began to compete in local and regional competitions, winning medals and accolades along the way.
In 2022, Obiena won 12 gold medals, 2 silver medals, and three bronze medals in competitions across Europe and Asia. He set a new national and Asian record by clearing 5.94 meters in the men’s pole vault at the World Athletics Championship in Oregon, USA, and won a bronze medal. Additionally, he beat Duplantis to take first place in the Diamond League in Brussels, Belgium.