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The Philippines is within reach of another medal in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics after EJ Obiena punched his ticket to the men's pole vault final on Saturday (July 31).
The Filipino pole vaulter placed 10th overall in the qualification stage to barge into the next round of the competition at the Tokyo Olympic Stadium.
Obiena, ranked no. 6 in the world, almost crashed out of contention at the 5.75 mark when he failed two consecutive tries, but the third time proved to be the charm as he cleared the height in his final attempt to book a trip to the finals.
The 25-year-old now has a legitimate shot at ending an 89-year medal drought for Philippine athletics, which last secured a podium finish in the 1932 Los Angeles Games courtesy of Miguel White's bronze in the 400-meter hurdles.
The second-generation Filipino athlete will now shift his focus on the final round where he aims to make history for the Philippines on Tuesday.
Ohmer Bautista is a sports journalist who has covered local and international sporting events in the Philippines. The views expressed are his own.