Manila, Philippines, September 4, 2019: The sports community in the Philippines is celebrating its first qualifier for the Olympic Games in Tokyo next summer.
Ernest John “EJ” Obiena, 23, has the honour of being the first Filipino athlete to book his place in Tokyo after clearing 5.81 metres in the men’s pole vault at a track and field meet in Chiara, Italy on Tuesday evening.
Obiena eclipsed his previous best of 5.76 meters, a record he set in the 2019 Summer Universiade also in Italy back in July.
The Olympic qualifying standard for pole vault is 5.80m.
Obiena is enjoying a record-breaking 2019, having set a new meet record at the Asian Athletics Championships in Doha in April with a clearance of 5.71m.
In 2014, Obiena trained under Vitaly Petrov in Italy, coach of pole vault legend Sergey Bubka.