July 30, 2020 at 11:00 pm
Peter Atencio and AFP
While waiting for his chance to join the Diamond League, Tokyo Olympics bet Ernest John “EJ” Obiena will compete online.
Obiena, who is currently training in Formia, Italy, will see action against other 2021 Tokyo Olympians in a virtual contest this August.
During the online showdown, Obiena will see action next to Tokyo Olympics qualifiers from Poland and the United States.
Now ranked no. 16 on the World Athletics Rankings, Obiena will fight for glory against world no. 8 Paweł Wojciechowski of Poland and no. 29 Matt Ludwig of the United States.
In 2015, Wojciechowski cleared 5.85 m to win bronze at the World Championships.
In 2017, he improved his personal best to 5.93 m.
On the other hand, Ludwig registered a 5.85 meters in the 2020 US National Championships last February.
As for Obiena, he secured a berth in the 2020 Summer Olympics by surpassing the qualifying standard by clearing 5.81 meters in a tournament in Chiara, Italy in September 3, 2019.
His effort was also a national record.
And Obiena is now aiming to surpass his own record by leaping 5.85 meters or more in training, or maybe in competition.
He recently overcame a discomfort that he felt during training.
His coaches, led by world champion Vitaly Petrov, have done their best to prevent the young Obiena from getting a serious back problem.
To keep a certain muscle group from getting stressed during training, EJ has done work outs on other areas on his back.
So far, Obiena is continuously training with Olympic gold medalist Thiago Braz da Silva.
He has been doing his daily physical routines and preparations to join the the Diamond League, which is an annual series of elite competitions across Europe.
The Diamond will have 15 one-day competitions, and only a few will have pole vault events.
The 26-year old Braz is the reigning Olympic Gold medalist and holds the Olympic record of 6.03 meters.
And Braz has provided Obiena a lot of inputs since he started training in Italy.