Olympics: EJ Obiena falls short of podium finish in pole vault

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Philippines' Ernest John Obiena competes in the qualification round of the men's pole vault at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Saturday, July 31, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)
Philippines' Ernest John Obiena competes in the qualification round of the men's pole vault at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Saturday, July 31, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)

EJ Obiena bowed out of medal contention in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics on Tuesday (August 3). 

The Filipino pole vaulter came up short of a podium finish after failing to clear 5.80 meters in the men's pole vault final at the Tokyo Olympics Stadium. 

Obiena, ranked no. 6 in the world, exhausted all three of his attempts to leap over the said height and stay in the medal hunt, but to no avail as he finished 11th. 

Before he fell out of the medal race, the 25-year-old had to clear 5.55 meters and 5.70 meters, the second of which took him three tries to overcome. 

To barge into the medal round, Obiena placed 10th overall in the qualification stage where he cleared the height of 5.75 meter. 

Obiena, who holds the Philippine outdoor record of the event with a 5.87-meter clear, has become the recent addition to the growing list of Filipino athletes who bowed out of the Tokyo Games. 

The Philippines thus continues its bid to end a 89-year medal drought in the field of athletics, which last saw a Filipino land on the Olympic podium back in the 1932 Los Angeles Games where Miguel White earned bronze in the 400-meter hurdles.   

Ohmer Bautista is a sports journalist who has covered local and international sporting events in the Philippines. The views expressed are his own.

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