MANILA, Philippines--After knowing only disappointment in the past two Southeast Asian Games, Ernest John Obiena is ready for his overdue coronation.
Obiena takes to the New Clark City turf in Capas town, Tarlac on Saturday afternoon eyeing a gold medal in pole vault, an event in which is the clear favorite.
Start time is scheduled at 5:30 p.m.
Having gone through rigid training in Italy the past few years, Obiena has developed into a top-grade vaulter.
He punched a ticket to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics after clearing a height for 5.81 meters in a qualifying tournament in Italy in September.
That measurement is far and away better than the 5.35 meters set in the 2017 SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur by Thailand’s Porranot Purahong, who won the gold there.
It has been a banner year for Obiena, who also clinched top honors in the world championships in Doha and the World University Games in Naples, Italy.
Over the past four years, he has been training at the special IAAF training camp under the tutelage of noted Serbian coach Vitaly Petrov, former mentor of world and Olympic champion Sergey Bubka and Rio Olympic gold medalist Thiago Braz da Silva of Brazil.
He has repeatedly said that he would love nothing more than delivering gold in front of his countrymen before he resumes training for the Olympics.
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