EJ Obiena 'still hungry, still yearning' after Olympic stint


Posted at Aug 16 2021 03:28 PM

Ernest John Obiena
Ernest John Obiena of Philippines in action. Andrew Boyers, Reuters.

Filipino pole vaulter EJ Obiena on Sunday opened up about his campaign in the Tokyo Olympics, where he finished tied for 11th overall after becoming the only Asian athlete to make the final. 

Obiena, who holds the Philippine record for pole vault, cleared 5.55 meters in his first try and 5.70 meters in his third, but missed out on 5.80 meters -- a mark he has been regularly clearing in the lead-up to the Summer Games.

In an Instagram post, the 25-year-old Obiena said it was "a hard pill to swallow" that he was unable to perform at his best during the final -- "the day I needed it most."

"It's even harder to just say, 'it is what it is,' and bad days come and go," he added. "I am confident with my abilities to go against the world's best."

Come the final, however, Obiena said that "something didn't click."

"Something was missing, or perhaps, it just wasn't meant to be," he added.

"These are thoughts that wake me up at night with cold sweat and a heavy chest, but then days pass and nights fall, and yet here I am, still wondering," Obiena said. "What was it that I missed?"

"I took a step back and realized I haven't accepted those thoughts as facts, and I am yet to throw in the towel."

"(I am) still hungry and still yearning for a better me," he said, concluding his post with a message of gratitude to those who had supported him.

Though he did not specify what his next steps will be, Obiena said it will be "onto the next chapter" for him.

Swede Armand Duplantis, the world record holder, took the gold in Tokyo after clearing 6.02 meters. Coming in second place was American Christopher Nilsen, who cleared 5.97 meters. Brazil's Thiago Braz, the gold medalist in 2016 and a training partner of Obiena, grabbed the bronze after clearing a season-best 5.87 meters.


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