FILIPINO pole-vaulter Ernest John U. Obiena goes for gold in the Tokyo Olympic Games on Tuesday and is looking to perform better to help his cause.
Qualified for the men’s pole vault finals by landing in the top 14 in the qualification round at the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo on Saturday, 25-year-old Mr. Obiena shared that he was not entirely in his element in the qualifying but still thankful he got to deliver when needed to.
“I was just feeling very sluggish, which is really strange. I didn’t feel like myself until the bar moved at 5.75m at the first attempt,” Mr. Obiena communicated to local sports media after his event from Japan.
Mr. Obiena cleared 5.75 meters in Group A of the qualifying event, good for fifth place and 10th overall.
He did it in his third and final attempt after fouling in his first two tries.
Mr. Obiena also cleared 5.5m and 5.65m in the qualifiers.
“For the next round, I’ll talk to my coach about our game plan. I know he’s gonna be mad right now (Saturday) for what I did. I didn’t follow some of his calls, and I was struggling mentally, then I didn’t feel that confident,” he said, “I don’t know what happened, I need to ask my coach, he would know what went wrong.”
In the finals, Mr. Obiena, the only Asian to qualify, will be up against a very tough field, which includes world no. 1 and record-holder Armand Duplantis of Sweden, no. 3 Piotr Lisek of Poland, no. 4 Renaud Lavillenie of France, no. 5 Christopher Nilsen of the United States, and no. 7 Thiago Braz of Brazil, the Rio Olympic champion.
All cleared 5.75m in the qualification round just like Mr. Obiena, who is currently the world number six-ranked pole vaulter and the first Filipino to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics in 2019.
The finals of the men’s pole vault is set for 6:20 p.m. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo