EJ back in Europe

World No. 3 pole vaulter EJ Obiena returned to his training headquarters in Formia, Italy Friday after a month-long vacation in the country.

Obiena’s return signals the start of his buildup not just for the indoor season but for the 2024 Paris Olympics.

“Good to be back home and spend time with friends and family but it’s time to get zoned in for the coming season,” Obiena wrote in a social media post just before leaving Manila for Europe.

Obiena, who boasts of a personal best of 5.94 meters, arrived in Manila on 15 September after a busy campaign in the United States for the world championships and the European circuit in August and September.

In the worlds held in Eugene, Oregon, Obiena placed third behind world-record holder Armand Duplantis and Chris Nilsen.

When they all got reunited in Brussels, Belgium, on 3 September, Obiena took top honors by upsetting the favored Duplantis in the Diamond League.

Down the road for Obiena are stints in the 32nd Southeast Asian Games in Phnom Penh, the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou and the 2023 World Athletics Championships in Budapest.

Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association secretary general Edward Kho said the recent break the 6-foot-2 Obiena got will help him prepare for the next tours of duty.

“He will be entering with confidence and he will be a lot more comfortable in high-level competitions,” Kho told Daily Tribune.

“Coming back here for a three-week break has been a big help for him. His skills are going up further so he needs those periods so that he will be able to rebound and perform better.”

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