FILIPINO pole-vaulter and Tokyo Olympics-bound EJ Obeina won a bronze medal in the 2021 Copernicus Cup in Torun, Poland, on Thursday (Manila time) to end his indoor season campaign.
Mr. Obiena had it rough early in the competition, needing three tries to clear 5.40 meters but eventually picked things.
He got to clear 5.60 and 5.72 meters after then tied Sam Kendricks of the United States and hometown bet Piotr Lisek for clearing 5.80 meters.
Mr. Kendricks, however, emerged as the winner as he cleared the height in only one try, while Messrs. Lisek and Obiena needed three attempts.
All three tried to clear 5.87 meters, but they could not succeed on it.
Mr. Obiena dropped to third behind Mr. Lisek as the former needed two attempts to clear the 5.72m jump, while the Polish athlete only did one.
The bronze in the Copernicus Cup was the fourth podium finish in this year’s indoor tour for Mr. Obiena after winning gold medals in the ISTAF Berlin Indoor Meet and PSD Indoor Meeting in Germany and a silver in the Orlen Cup in Poland.
On a Facebook post, Mr. Obiena, who is training in Europe with his coach and Olympic gold medalist Vitaly Petrov in preparation for his Olympic quest, said he was satisfied with his showing in the World Indoor Tour and thanked his supporters for rallying behind him.
“Last leg of the World Indoor Tour has come to an end with the conclusion of @copernicuscup_pl here in Torun. Going “home” with a [bronze medal] and lots and lots of learning plus some bruises,” Mr. Obiena wrote.
“Thank you coach #vitalypetrov for traveling and going thru all the covid test, travel, stress, pole transport, and most importantly the patience you have given me through and through. Hope to somehow someday to make it all worthwhile,” he added.
He also thanked the Philippine Sports Commission and his home federation the Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association for continuing to look after him despite his training abroad.
“To everyone who have made this season possible. From @phil.sportscommission to #patafa and to my sponsors and friends and family and everyone who supported me and maybe doubted me as well. Thank you very much! It’s been a blast and definitely wouldn’t be possible without y’all. #muchlove Ciao 2021 Indoor Season,” Mr. Obiena further wrote.
Apart from Mr. Obiena, others who have qualified for the rescheduled Olympic Games this year to date are gymnast Caloy Yulo and boxers Eumir Felix Marcial and Irish Magno. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo