Obiena earns Paris Olympics spot, rises to world No. 2 in pole vault

UST Electronics Engineering student on-leave Ernest John “EJ” Obiena is now the world No. 2 pole vaulter, according to the World Athletics rankings as of July 18, 2023. He surpassed the previous No. 2, American athlete Chris Nilsen, by four points, garnering 1,432 ranking points.

In a public post on his official Facebook page, Obiena wrote, “Thank you to everyone who made this possible, and my deepest gratitude to those who went to war so that I could continue this dream. This is not just my accomplishment alone, but everyone’s. Maraming salamat, Pilipinas, sa pagkakataon na iwagayway ang iyong diwa. This dreamer dares to dream.”

He is also the first Filipino to secure his spot at the 2024 Paris Olympics. He qualified for the Summer Games by clearing a 5.82-meter jump at the Wanda Diamond League’s Bauhaus Galan meet in Stockholm, Sweden on July 2, 2023, which earned him a silver medal.

Obiena has repeatedly set and broken new records, including soaring to new heights by joining the “six-meter-club” as the first Asian and Filipino pole vaulter on June 10, 2023 at the Bergen Jump Challenge in Norway, where he brought home the gold medal. He is the 24th athlete of all time to leap over the six-meter barrier.

Obiena recently won the gold in the 2023 Asian Athletics Championship held in Pattaya, Thailand on July 16, 2023. He now holds a new Asian record of 5.91m.

Earlier this academic year, during his homecoming to the University of Santo Tomas in September 2022, he received the Pope John Paul II Outstanding Achievement Award for his stellar performance in pole vault.

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