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    POC rues Obiena exclusion from PH pool despite recent wins

    Feb 24, 2022
    EJ Obiena Bambol Tolentino
    POC president Bambol Tolentino says EJ Obiena isa a "guaranteed gold winner" in the Asian and SEA Games.

    THE Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) praised Ernest John “EJ” Obiena’s calculated season that already earned him two gold medals in the European indoor circuit but lamented the Asian record holder’s continued exclusion from the athletics association’s national pool.

    POC on EJ Obiena exclusion

    “How many more gold medals should EJ win for him to be reinstated in the national pool?” POC President Rep. Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino said on Thursday. “The people just can’t wait long enough for a national athletic treasure to be ignored.”

    Obiena picked up two gold medals in a 10-day span—the first at the Orlen Cup (Lodz) and the second only on Wednesday at the Orlen Copernicus Cup (Torun Arena) both in Poland. He won both with similar leaps of 5.81 meters.

    The 26-year-old Obiena started the season by undergoing surgery in January to fix a left knee injury. He has since competed in five meets in the European indoor circuit under a calculated training and competition program with renowned Ukranian coach Vitaly Petrov.

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    “If the SEA [Southeast Asian] Games and even the Asian Games are held tomorrow, EJ will easily sweep the gold medals in both competitions,” Tolentino said. “It’s crystal clear, EJ is a guaranteed gold winner in both.”

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    Obiena owns the Asian record in men’s pole vault of 5.93 meters he set last September in Innsbruck, Austria—numbers that easily surpassed the Asian Games record of 5.70m Japan’s Seito Yamamoto set in Jakarta 2018.

    The SEA Games? Obiena set the record of 5.45 meters at the New Clark City in December 2019.

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      “Looking at EJ’s 5.45 meters in winning gold in the 2019 SEA Games and his present numbers, it’s definitely a big leap for him,” Tolentino said.

      The Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association leadership confirmed in Tuesday’s online Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum that the Tokyo Olympian is not in the association’s national pool and his reinstatement remains a subject of their discussion.

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      POC president Bambol Tolentino says EJ Obiena isa a "guaranteed gold winner" in the Asian and SEA Games.
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