After securing a spot in the finals of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, Thomasian pole vaulter Ernest John ‘EJ’ Obiena cleared the 5.70-meter jump and placed 11th on August 3, 2021.
The 25-year-old Obiena was the only Asian who qualified in the finals of the pole vault event.
With an outpouring of encouragement from the nation and Thomasian community, the No. 6 pole vaulter in the world thanked his supporters in a public Facebook post and assured them of his commitment.
“The facts of the matter are simple: I still love the sport of pole vaulting. I still love representing my great country. I still love competing. I still know I can win. You can draw your own conclusions from this. I will be back, and I will be back to win,” emphasized Obiena.
In 2019, Obiena became the first Filipino athlete to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics when he cleared a 5.81-meter jump in Chiari, Italy. Just three weeks prior to the Olympics, he pushed Philippine pole vault to new heights by setting a new national record and personal best of 5.87 meters at the World Athletics Continental Tour in Poland.
Obiena, is currently on study leave as a UST Electronics Engineering student. As of this writing, he has returned to Italy to resume his training. In the local pole vault scene, Obiena previously competed for UST in the University Athletics Association of the Philippines (UAAP) pole vault events alongside his sister, Industrial Engineering alumna and athlete Emily Jean Obiena.