ERNEST JOHN “EJ” OBIENA and his legendary Ukrainian coach Vitaly Petrov are due on the training field in Formia on Monday after spending a week’s vacation that wasn’t actually an R&R in Dubai after a hectic season.
Obiena underwent functional training with Petrov despite the need for Obiena to rest and relax following a busy indoor season in Europe earlier this year, the world championships in Budapest where he clinched silver and the Asian Games in Hangzhou where he got gold.
That’s not to mention the 21 tournaments in Europe where he made the podium 19 times.
“It’s always just one week, and they didn’t cut anything as they head for training in Formia,” Jim Lafferty, Obiena’s Dubai-based former coach and confidante, told BusinessMirror on Sunday. “We did functional training, it’s good off-season work as training begins tomorrow for real [in Formia].”
Lafferty said Obiena’s functional training focused on his strength and balance, which is very important when pole vaulters are under pressure while staying mentally sharp.
“It’s using many joints in motion, like vaulting lots of muscles working,” Lafferty said. “These weights have water in them, so they shift around and requires balance and stability training.”
Lafferty said it’s a must in Petrov’s program for Obiena that is now focused on the Paris 2024 Olympics.
“He [Petrov] doesn’t like to be late in their Olympic training program although Paris is nine months away.
“They accelerate [im training] next week to get going,” he added.
Obiena’s 2024 calendar will again be packed with the first quarter of the year set for the world indoor championships in Glasgow from March 1 to 3 and two indoor competitions elsewhere in Europe.
There will be two outdoor competitions and then the Olympics, Lafferty added.
Obiena is already qualified for the Paris Olympics after meeting the 5.82 meters standard last July 2 at the Diamond League’s Bauhaus-Galan meet in Stockholm.