EJ Obiena powered through his final attempt of the 5.75 meters to move on to the final of the men’s pole vault at the 2020 Olympic Athletics tournament at the Tokyo Olympic Stadium, Saturday.
The 25-year-old qualified in 10th place after finally clearing the said 5.75-meter bar on his third and final attempt as the competition closed after his take.
“Thank you for all your prayers after some nerve-wracking moments,” said Obiena on his Facebook page.
With good rhythm on the run, Obiena was able to get a good height off the bar much like his first clearances on his previous heights, and eventually recorded the said height.
The University of Santo Tomas-product took the bar with him on his first attempt at the said height. He later ran the runway on his second to put pressure on him to make that final chance to clear the bar.
Obiena, the world no. 6 in the event, skipped the first height of 5.30 meters. He then took the next two heights at 5.50 and 5.60 meters with ease.
Germany’s Bo Kanda Lita Bahre and USA’s Christopher Nilsen, both from Group B, paced the qualifiers at 5.75 as well, but both got them on their respective first attempts. In Obiena’s group, another American in Kc Lightfoot took the first spot also with a first-attempt take of the said height. However, he needed an additional try on the 5.50.
The medal round takes place Tuesday, August 3.