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Obiena named PH flag bearer, climbs to sixth in world rankings

Just days after inching closer to the world pole vault top five, Thomasian pole vaulter EJ Obiena has been appointed by the Philippine Olympic Committee as one of the country’s flag bearers along with judoka Kiyomi Watanabe in the upcoming Olympic games on July 24.

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Screenshot from the tournament livestream courtesy of World Athletics' YouTube Channel.

Just days after inching closer to the world pole vault top five, Thomasian pole vaulter EJ Obiena has been appointed by the Philippine Olympic Committee as one of the country’s flag bearers along with judoka Kiyomi Watanabe in the upcoming Olympic games on July 24.

Most recently, Obiena secured a fourth place finish in the Diamond League held in Stockholm, Sweden. While short of a podium finish, the Thomasian pole vaulter did garner a total of 1,343 points, which improved his rank amongst the world’s best from 10th to sixth place ahead of the 2021 Olympic games.

“Work continues but this fills me with inspiration and gratitude,” Obiena wrote on his Facebook page. 

“We will proudly not just represent the Philippines, but fight for its glory,” he added.

As of writing, Sweden’s Arnold Duplantis leads the world pole vault rankings with 1,524 points. Following him is the American Sam Kendricks, with 1,469 points with Poland’s Piotr Lisek behind him with 1,443 points to round up the top three. 

Frenchman Renauld Lavillenie and American bet Christopher Nielsen complete the top five rankings with 1,379 and 1,360 points respectively.

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Obiena clinches finals berth in Olympic pole vaulting debut

Thomasian pole vaulter Ernest John Obiena continues his climb for an Olympic medal as he advances to the finals in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics on Saturday, July 31. 

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Obiena in Internationales Stadionfes on February 5, 2021. Photo by: Tobias Schwarz, AFP

Thomasian pole vaulter Ernest John Obiena continues his climb for an Olympic medal as he advances to the finals in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics on Saturday, July 31. 

Obiena finished as the 10th seed out of 30 competitors, which guaranteed him his finals spot. 

The former Thomasian started his day with two flawless finishes at the 5.50 and 5.65 meter marks. 

However, things weren’t so easy come to the 5.75 meter mark. 

Come the final stage of the qualifiers, the Filipino bet committed two fouls in his attempts to clear the highest mark of the competition. 

But after two near fatal miscalculations, the third time proved to be a charm for the world ranked no. 6 pole vaulter. 

Obiena made his last attempt count. All of his movements were gracefully synchronized starting from the steps, to the perfect form of his C-position, and his clear landing. 

With the finish, Obiena will have a chance to clinch gold for the Philippines in the pole vaulting finals on August 3. 

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Hidilyn Diaz writes PH sports history as first Olympic champion

Diaz, who many favored to secure a podium finish in this year’s Olympics, outlasted eight other competitors in the 55kg category, including the world record holder from China, Liao Qiuyun.

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A momentous victory for Hidylyn Diaz as she competes for the 55-kg weightlifting category at the Tokyo Olympics. Photo grabbed from Reuters

Almost a century since the country marked its footprints in the Olympic games, the Philippines has finally secured a gold medal during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

PH weightlifting bet Hidilyn Diaz topped the podium in the women’s 55-kilogram category of weightlifting.

Diaz, who many favored to secure a podium finish in this year’s Olympics, outlasted eight other competitors in the 55kg category, including the world record holder from China, Liao Qiuyun.

The weightlifter from Zamboanga City started the competition off strong as she lifted 94kg and 97kg in her first two attempts in snatch. She had the chance to take the lead after trying to lift 99kg in her final snatch attempt but failed to do so.

Uzbekistan bet Muattar Nebieva led all competitors in the snatch attempt as she cleared 98kg.

Diaz grabbed the lead in the clean and jerk attempt when she lifted 119kg on her first try. She then set an Olympic record in her final attempt with a weight of 127kg.

Hidilyn will be walking away with around 33 million pesos in incentives for winning gold, 20 million of which would be coming from the MVP Sports Foundation and San Miguel Corporation respectively, while 10 million would be given by the Philippine government in accordance with the Republic Act. 10699. Congressman Mikee Romero will also be giving three million pesos in incentives.

Back in 2019, Diaz took to social media to ask for financial support in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics in hopes of bringing home the first-ever gold medal for the Philippines, to which she received mixed reactions from both her fans and the government.

This is the second Olympic medal in four Olympic stints for Hidilyn as she ended the 20-year medal drought for the Philippines in the 2016 Rio Olympics, taking home a silver medal in the 53kg weightlifting category. 

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Obiena secures podium finishes in two pre-Olympic meets

The UST alumnus is set to compete in one more competition before he dons the Philippine colors in the 2021 Tokyo Olympics.

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Ernest John Obiena broke national records during the Irena Szewinska Memorial Bydgoszcz Cup in Poland last June 30. Screenshot from the tournament livestream courtesy of World Athletics' Youtube Channel.

Ernest John Obiena steamrolls his way to the Tokyo Olympics as he wins gold in the Taby Stavhoppsgala Meet, silver in the Irena Szewinska Memorial Bydgoszcz Cup, and placed fourth in the Diamond League.

Event by event, the Filipino pole vaulter did not let his mother nation down as he claims gold in the 2021 Taby Stavhoppsgala street pole vault tournament, where he cleared 5.80 meters over 2016 Rio Olympics Gold Medalist Thiago Braz on Friday, July 2.

Braz settled for silver while American Andrew Irwin walked away with bronze. All three podium finishers vaulted 5.80 meters, but Obiena bags gold by committing the fewest mistakes known as countback.

Meanwhile, Obiena ended the month of June earning a silver medal in the Irena Szewinska Memorial Bydgoszcz Cup

He beat his previous world record of 5.85 meters, which he notched at the Jump & Fly meet in Mössingen, Germany, earlier this June.

American Chris Nilsen topped the tournament with a gold medal finish of 5.92 meters, while Poland’s homegrown product Piotr Lisek finished third as he cleared 5.82 meters in two attempts. 

The 25-year-old Olympian was .10 seconds shy of a podium finish in the Diamond League as he secured fourth place with a leap of 5.82 meters. He was set to secure a spot in the top three but was eliminated after failing all three attempts at 5.92 meters.

The UST alumnus is set to compete in one more competition before he dons the Philippine colors in the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, as he eyes to nab the first Olympic gold medal in Philippine history.

 

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