- Filipino pole vaulter Ernest John Obiena is the country’s first Pinoy athlete to secure a spot in the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympic Games
- He qualified for the Tokyo Olympics after he cleared a 5.81-meter for a gold medal in the Men’s Pole Vault competition in Italy
- He cleared the height during his last attempt
Filipino pole vaulter Ernest John Obiena became the country’s first official olympian for the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympic Games.
Obiena became the first Filipino to qualify for the Summer Olympics after he cleared a 5.81-meter for a gold medal in the Men’s Pole Vault competition of Salto Con L’asta in Piazza Chiari 2019 in Italy, the Philippine Sports Commission confirmed September 4.
According to a report, with Obiena’s 5.81-meter record, he was able to surpass the 5.80-meter qualifying standard for men’s pole vault for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
It was reported that Obiena also surpassed his own personal best and national record of 5.76 meters after achieving the 5.81-meter record in Italy. Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association President Philip Ella Juico said Obiena cleared the height on his third and last attempt and defeated five other competitors for the gold medal.
With his win, he earned praises from many Filipinos, including his fellow athletes like Filipina weight lifter Hidilyn Diaz. Many Filipinos also demanded for more support for Obiena and other Filipino athletes, who will represent the country in other sports events that are not as popular as basketball and volleyball.
“Congratulations! Hoping you’ll be the first Olympic gold medal winner for the Philippines,” a supporter expressed on Facebook.
“He should get more support. I saw him on TV compete in a Diamond League event and he was competitive,” another supporter said.
Obiena also competed in the ISTAF Berlin, where he posted 5.50 meters and in the IAAF Diamond League in Zurich, where he registered 5.58 meters.