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Obiena rules Copernicus Cup, bags P165k


Making it thru one day at a time. Now time to recover and try to get the much-needed rest


Italy-based EJ Obiena won his third tournament of the indoor season after clinching the gold medal in the ORLEN Copernicus Cup in Torun, Poland, early Thursday.

Obiena, 27, leaped over 5.87 meters to take first place anew after dominating the Perche En Or in Roubaix, France, and the Orlen Cup, also in Poland.

The 2022 World Athletics Championships bronze medalist attempted to break the Philippine indoor record at 5.92m and 5.95m but failed to do so.

Rutger Koppelaar of the Netherlands, Ben Broeders of Belgium, and Dutch pole vaulter Menno Vloom all reached 5.82m but the Koppelaar took the silver medal due to a countback.

Claudio Michel Stecchi of Italy ended up at fifth with 5.72m hometown bet Piotr Lisek also tallied 5.72m but ranked sixth due to countback.

Pal Haugen Lilliefosse of  Norway only got over the bar at 5.62m while Polish pole vaulter Pawel Wojciechowski and Obiena’s training partner Thiago Braz of Brazil tied at eighth place with 5.52m.

Robert Sobera of Poland is at 10th with 5.32m while Emmanouil Karalis of Greece never made it past his initial height of 5.52m.

With the Copernicus Cup part of the World Athletics Indoor Tour Gold, Obiena is set to receive $3000 US dollars or 164,497.50 pesos for winning the tournament.

“Making it thru one day at a time. Now time to recover and try to get the much-needed rest,” Obiena said in a social media post.

“Thank you everyone who has supported me. We still fighting. Maraming salamat po!”

Prior to his latest win, Obiena announced he will not compete in the upcoming Asian Indoor Athletics Championships starting from 10 to 12 February in Kazakhstan due to logistical and financial issues.

In a previous Daily Tribune report, Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association secretary general Edward Kho said both Obiena and the federation mutually agreed to skip the tournament as it will risk breaking his poles due to the small airplanes flying into Astana.

“We advised him to reconsider proceeding there because it’s really stressful for pole vaulters due to the uncertainty of the poles being accepted, especially at the transit point, going into Astana. The airlines are using smaller aircrafts so it’s challenging,” Kho said.

“If your event is as technical and serious as pole vault, you wouldn’t risk it because it will ruin your composure.”

Still, Philippine Sports Commission chairman Richard “Dickie” Bachmann released a statement saying he is coordinating with PATAFA to help out with Obiena’s financial woes.

“In light of the recent statement of Mr. Ernest John Obiena posted on his social media account, I immediately communicated with him and made internal actions in the PSC,” Bachmann said.

“I also received communication on this matter from the Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association (PATAFA) and will continue to speed things up to help their national sports association and Mr. Obiena.”

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