MANILA – Filipino pride EJ Obiena has downplayed expectations of crossing the six-meter mark in pole vault -- an accomplishment that would pose a threat to world No. 1 Armand Duplantis.
During his launching as the new brand ambassador of Rebisco biscuits, Obiena admitted that he is eyeing to be the 25th man in pole vault history to cross the 6-meter bar but he is not pressuring himself to achieve it.
“Is it (6 meters) a target? Of course. If I want it? Yes. Is it the main thing that I focus on? Probably not,” Obiena told ABS-CBN News Wednesday.
Obiena, who is currently sitting as World no. 3 in the sport, explained that his goal in every competition is to win medals and not just about passing the 6-meter barrier.
“It’s not really the numbers. The way I approach the game is to win. If I can win with 6 meters then I need to jump 6 meters. For me, it’s really a matter of winning medals,” he said.
The reigning SEA Games champion and Asian record holder is eyeing to be in the history books by winning more medals in pole vault and not just breaking the world record.
Currently, the world record is 6.21-meters, registered by Duplantis during the 2022 World Athletics Championships. Obiena had a stellar performance in the same competition, crossing 5.94 meters for his new personal best and Asian record.
This also allowed him to clinch the bronze in the Athletic Worlds, the first time the country won a medal in the history of the competition.
“Records are meant to be broken. And I want to put my name in the history of sports books. And the best way to do that is to win as many medals as I can. That’s my approach to the sport. That’s my approach to every tournament I join,” he continued.
Obiena added that he has already jumped over 6 meters but the bar was not set at that mark at the time. However, he admitted that he has yet to cross the 6-meter bar during his training.
The new Pinoy icon has secured another private backing through Rebisco as he possesses the values the company is looking for for the face of its product Extreme.
Andrei Soriano, Rebisco’s head of marketing, presented Obiena as the brand's new ambassador, who exemplifies their values of excellence and commitment.
“We were looking for someone that matches the brand’s personality — energetic, outstanding, recharged,” Soriano said in the press conference.
Obiena is in the Philippines for the first time since 2019. He will stay for a three-week vacation before returning to training and competition.
He won six of his last eight competitions in the outdoor season, including the Memorial van Damme -- the Brussels leg of the Diamond League -- last September 2.