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Planned vault event gets huge lift


EJ Obiena has been assured by fellow world-class pole vaulters of their participation in a proposed outdoor competition the Philippines wants to stage later in the year.

Gracing a virtual press conference arranged by the Philippine Track and Field Association on Wednesday, Obiena, rated No. 3 in the world, said “a few” have guaranteed their intent to travel to the country and take part in the event that was the brainchild of the Philippine Olympic Committee leadership.

“I couldn’t name them just yet. I’m friends with all of them but unfortunately, I can’t invite all of them and I would want to have the opportunity to invite as many as possible,” Obiena, 27, said just a few days before he heads back to his training base in Formia, Italy.

“It will be premature to announce who already gave their promise to me.”

POC president Abraham Tolentino, who is also the mayor of Tagaytay City, said that the Picnic Grove will be a perfect venue to hold the tournament with the Taal Volcano in the background.

“With the Taal Volcano as the backdrop, what more could you ask for — a world-class pole vault action in one of the most picturesque tourist attractions in the country,” Tolentino said in a previous report.

“Every jump will be postcard-perfect,” he said.

Obiena said he is coordinating with both the Philippine Sports Commission and Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association as he wants to other places offering picturesque views to stage the additional legs.

He also wants the competition to be held in September after the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou, China is done.

“I need to coordinate with the Philippine Sports Commission and with Patafa in trying to push the competition that I’m trying to do,” Obiena said.

“It will be in late September probably. Hopefully, it will be after the Asian Games,” said Obiena, who leaves for Europe on Monday.

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