ERNEST John Obiena is now at the Olympic Training Center in Spala, Poland under the care of renowned Ukrainian pole vault coach Valery Petrov.
Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association president Philip Ella Juico said Obiena left for Spala with his father-coach Emerson on Dec. 19 and they will be in Spala up to Jan. 19, 2016.
“As you can see, both Obienas sacrificed their Christmas holidays and spent their Christmas and New Year’s eve in cold Poland. EJ was supposed to continue his training under coach Petrov in the IAAF Pole Vault Training Centre in Formia, Italy, but coach decided to train EJ in the Spala indoor facility,” said Juico.
Juico added that the run way in Formia is not long enough for EJ to do his long approach run as he continues to grow and gain the needed weight.
“In fact, the pole that EJ uses now, as befits his height and weight and progression, is heavier and stiffer,” added Juico.
He added that Obiena is now in transition to specific preparations for the 7th Asian Indoor Athletics Championships in Doha, Qatar from Feb. 19 to 21, 2016.
The Doha competitions, added Juico will be the first of four to six tough competitions that EJ needs to join from January to March 2016.
The championships will be held in the ultra-modern Aspire Dome in the Doha.
Obiena’s performance has since progressed, “remarkably under the guidance of Petrov.”
So far, his best showing was when he set a new Philippine record during the Weekly Relays in September 2015 at 5.45 meters.
Before he trained under Petrov, Obiena’s personal best was 4.8 meters in late 2014.
Following his stint in Formia under Petrov, EJ’s personal best improved to 5.3 meters.
Before training in Formia, EJ captured the gold medal in the 27th SEA Games in Thailand, clearing a height of 5.20 meters.
He had to settle for the silver medal during the 28th SEA Games in Singapore despite achieving a higher height of 5.25 meters.