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EJ Obiena Looks to be the First Filipino to Qualify for Paris 2024

EJ Obiena Paris 2024
James Francisco

2023 signifies Philippine Track and Field vaulter EJ Obiena’s redemption arc, with Olympic greatness in his crosshairs. The Pole Vaulter looks to be the first national athlete to qualify for the Paris 2024 tourney after a rare 6-meter clearance at the Sparebanken Vest Bergen Jump Challenge in Norway earlier this month—the first Asian to accomplish this feat.

The third-ranked Pole Vaulter plans to participate in several tournaments sanctioned by World Athletics post-June as a detour directly to the Paris 2024 games. Finishing outside of the top 10 at Tokyo’s Olympic Games, securing an early admission to the quadrennial sporting mecca remains the goal for the former Growling Tiger.

Resuming his global-Olympic campaign, the 27-year-old first settles at the 2023 Golden Spike Ostrava in Ostrava, Czech Republic (June 27), Bauhaus-Galan in Stockholm, Sweden (July 2), and Meeting International de Sotteville in Rouen, France (July 7) before docking at the Asian Athletics Championship in Bangkok, Thailand (July 12-16)—as the defending champion of its 2019 leg. 

Noting the gruesome competition ahead, the international scene houses Olympians—such as Sweeden’s Armand Duplantis and United States’ Christopher Nielsen, appearing alongside Obiena at the 2023 World Athletics Championships in Budapest, Hungary (Aug. 19-27). The Tondo, Manila native is also regarded as the favorite at the 9th Asian Games in Hangzhou, China (Sept. 23-Oct. 8) as possibly the final stop before booking his flight to Paris in July 2024.

“Hopefully, I’ve already qualified (to the Olympics) by then. My drive for winning remains important and I have to keep it that way,’’ Obiena tells Inquirer.Net.

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