Obiena preps for 3rd-straight SEA Games gold in Cambodia


WORLD No. 3 pole vaulter Ernest John “EJ” Obiena moved camp to Alicante in Spain to prepare for his outdoor season campaign starting with the Cambodia 32nd  Southeast Asian Games next month.

From the world pole vault center in Formia, Obiena and his renowned Ukrainian coach Vitaly Petrov are training at the Ciudad Deportiva Camilo Cano La Nucia where it’s quieter with less distraction than the facility in Italy.

Obiena’s confidante Jim Lafferty confirmed to BusinessMirror on Friday that the country’s top track and field athlete will go for his third gold medal in the Cambodia SEA Games where the athletics competitions are set May 8 to 12 at the Morodok Techo Stadium in Phnom Penh.

“As the SEA Games are early in this process, our objective is to go, win gold and get back to sharpening for the meets to come,” Lafferty said.

Obiena, Lafferty said, will not take the SEA Games lightly.

“EJ always respects his competition and recognizes the progress made by his SEA competitors, particularly from Thailand,” Lafferty said. “He takes nothing for granted.  But like any competition, EJ comes to win and that’s how he plans to approach the upcoming SEA Games.”

Obiena, 27, competed in seven tournaments during the indoor season in Europe in January and February and collected three gold medal, two silver and one bronze medals.

Lafferty said Obiena’s focus is to improve on his personal best of 5.94 meters, the Asian record, as he prepares for the Paris Olympics qualifying window that starts in June.

“EJ is in the process of making adjustments in the hope of clearing 6 meters this season,” Lafferty said. “This outdoor season is extremely long until end September and includes major competition such as the world cnd Asian Championships and the Diamond League.”

The Olympic qualifying standard for men’s pole vault is 5.83 meters.

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