Filipino pole vault star Ernest John “EJ” Obiena has overcome COVID-19 to successfully defended his champion title at the Taby Pole Vault Gala in Stockholm, Sweden.
EJ Obiena tested positive for the coronavirus in early June and had to miss two Diamond League events in Norway (Oslo Bislett Games) and France (Meeting de Paris) while recovering from the illness.
The Asian champion returned to competition at Täby Stavhoppsgala on June 28, 2022 (June 29 Manila time), and after two attempts recorded the highest jump at 5.92 meters – just a centimeter shy of his 5.93m Asian record – to successfully defend and exceed last year’s gold-winning performance of 5.80 meters.
The 26-year-old athlete from the Philippines also repeated his victory against Olympics gold medalist Thiago Braz who delivered 5.82 meters for 2nd place in this year’s event, the same spot the Brazilian earned last year. The 3rd place went to Simen Guttormsen of Norway who executed a 5.72 meters jump.
Taby Pole Vault Gala hailed Obiena’s feat as having “exceeded all expectations” and referred to his attempt to clear 6 meters as “a powerful moment”.
Prior to contracting COVID-19 and the event in Sweden, the Filipino champion pole vaulter also won gold at the L’Aquila, Italy leg of the 2022 European City of Sports event with 5.85 meters, a jump that earned Obiena the pre-Taby rank of World number three for his Season Best record.
EJ Obiena’s Taby victory also earned him the last ticket for the Bauhaus Gala, the Stockholm Diamond League happening on June 30 (July 1 Manila time).
He has also qualified for the following events:
- July 15 to 24, 18th World Athletics Championships – Oregon, USA
- September 12 to 25, 19th Asian Games – Hangzhou, China
EJ Obiena announced his newest achievement while giving a social media shoutout to his fellow Filipinos who watched the Sweden event live.
“PS: To the 2 🇵🇭 #kabayan who came and watched and even asked if I want any water or energy drink, ramdam ko po ang pag-mamalasakit ninyo Maraming salamat po 🙏,” he wrote.
WATCH Filipino pole vault star EJ Obiena executes his repeat win at the Taby Pole Vault Gala in Sweden after he overcame COVID-19 and SEND well wishes in the comments below as he continues to represent the Philippines in the pole vaulting world!
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