October 22, 2020

Visa woes sidelines Obiena from Doha pole vault tourney

Visa woes sidelines Obiena from Doha pole vault tourney

Joey Villar (Philstar.com) – September 19, 2020 – 3:23pm

MANILA, Philippines — Olympic-bound Filipino pole-vaulter EJ Obiena will be skipping the Doha leg of the Diamond League due to visa problems.

“I will not be doing Doha because of visa and passport problems,” said the 24-year-old Obiena a day after posting his personal season best 5.80 meters and claiming a bronze medal in the Rome leg of the Diamond League.

With the help of Philippine athletics chief Philip Ella Juico and the Philippine Sports Commission, Obiena is currently fixing the issue with hopes of keeping him in Formia, Italy where he is training under world renowned Ukrainian coach Vitaly Petrov.

But they may not be able to fix it in time for next week’s Doha tilt.

Obiena nonetheless remained focused on eclipsing his best and current national record of 5.81m and hopefully breach the 6.0m-mark that would give him a fighting chance at a medal in Tokyo.

And winning one would be historic since the last Olympic medal by the country in track and field came in the 1936 Berlin Games where Filipino-American Miguel White captured a 400m hurdles bronze.

To achieve that, Petrov had made drastic changes to Obiena’s training program.
“I’m giving myself time to recover and get ready for next season,” said Obiena, who had a gold, two silver and three bronzes in eight competitions he joined the last two months.

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