EJ Obiena has been on a tear lately, resetting National and Asian records for pole vault.
Besides that, he has climbed to world no. 5 due to his series of impressive stints this season.
What really pushes Obiena to perform at the highest level in the past tournaments?
The doubts that have been troubling him ever since last August 3 – the day of his first Olympics that did not finish the way he wanted.
“I was down after Tokyo, questioning what happened; why was I not performing as well as I should have, I believe that I could have,” recalled Obiena as he finished 11th place in the Tokyo Games.
“That haunts me.
“The doubt is what’s haunting me more. It’s giving me questions on my head lingering around. What exactly happened on the day I was supposed to perform and bring my A-game and wasn’t able to,” said Obiena on Radyo 5’s Power and Play.
Therefore, once the pole vault season resumes in Europe, Obiena has this extra motivation to perform better – and to prove to himself he can do it.
The 6-foot-2 athlete has never dropped below fifth place in the last six competitions he figured in.
Last August 29 in the Paris leg of the 2021 Wanda Diamond League, he smashed his own Philippine record anew after clearing 5.91 meters to finish second.
He followed it with second and fourth-place finishes in Poland and Switzerland, respectively.
Then came the 2021 Golden Roof Challenge in Austria where Obiena finally broke the 23-year-old Asian record. The 25-year-old Filipino cleared 5.93 meters en route to a gold medal.
“I just needed to have some kind of sign that I am actually capable, I’m actually good. I’m actually able to do all of this that I have set out to do,” said Obiena.
“The biggest competition was Tokyo and it wasn’t pleasant. Therefore, I really needed this badly. This means a lot to me.”