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EJ WANTS REDEMPTION | Obiena eyes podium return in Berlin

EJ Obiena is right on track after placing third in Brussels. 📸 EJ Obiena/IG

EJ Obiena seeks redemption in the ISTAF Berlin sans some of the biggest names in pole vault at the Olympiastadion in Berlin, Germany on Sunday.

The world’s No. 2 ranked pole vaulter is expected to get a better result in the field missing world champion Armand Duplantis of Sweden after a dismal showing in the Zurich Diamond League.

Obiena bombed out of the podium in a forgettable run that saw the Paris Olympic-bound Filipino clear a meager 5.60 meters to finish last in the 10-man tournament in Switzerland last Friday.

The 27-year-old athlete now shifts his focus on regaining lost pride as he competes against other world-class vaulters in Christopher Nilsen, Sam Kendricks and KC Lightfoot of the United States as well as Norwegian Sondre Guttormsen
hometown bets Oleg Zernikel and Gillian Ladwig.

Action starts at 10:10 p.m. (Manila time).

Aside from Duplantis, also skipping the World Athletics Continental Tour Silver level tournament is 2023 World Athletics Championship bronze medalist Kurtis Marschasll of Australia.

Obiena’s training partner and 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics champion Thiago Braz of Brazil is still suspended from competition due to doping.

Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association secretary general Edward Kho is not surprised with Obiena’s latest result, saying his off days are bound to happen.

“An athlete cannot be expected to perform linearly at a high level otherwise he will explode. This setback is part of the process for his body to recover,” Kho told DAILY TRIBUNE.

“There will be points in his performance where there will be dips. Me, I’m not surprised, since this is a good thing for his body to recover for the possibility of higher performance.”

Obiena, silver medalist in the World Athletics Championships, has a full calendar of competitions. He is set to participate in the Brussels Diamond League leg on 8 September in Belgium and the Diamond League final in Eugene, Oregon running from 16 to 17 September.

He is also preparing for the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou, China scheduled 23 September to 8 October.

Despite some hiccups in his performance, Kho is confident Obiena will make the most out of every tournament he joins.

“I think they’re on the right track to perform competitively, especially in the Asian Games. He (Obiena) toldme all the competitions he is joining are important,” Kho said.

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