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Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Obiena focused on Paris Olympics, says Tolentino

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Ernest John Obiena—one of the country’s strongest medal potentials in the Paris—has his mind and body focused on the Olympics, according to Philippine Olympic Committee president Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino who had a brief internet call with the world No. 2 men’s pole vaulter late Tuesday.

“EJ is doing well and is very focused, him despite missing on a medal in the Diamond League in Paris,” said Tolentino, who assured Obiena that his parents—Emerson, himself a former national pole vaulter, and Jeanette—will be in Paris to cheer and support their son.

The elder Obienas, Tolentino said, are managing their son’s logistical needs for the Olympics to keep him focused on the games.

“After the Diamond League, EJ and his team will remain in France and no longer return to their base in Formia [Italy],” said Tolentino, adding it won’t be practical for Team Obiena to travel anymore because the men’s pole vault competitions in Paris are set August 3 for the qualification and August 5 for the final both at the 81,000-seat Stade de France.

Obiena and his team—led by renowned Ukranian coach Vitaly Petrov—will do their preps and fine-tuning at the Normandy Sports Centre, which is a mere two-hour drive from Paris.

Tolentino assured Obiena that he will send a team from the POC secretariat to Normandy to make sure the Asian champion gets the needed support for his pre-Olympics training.

Joining Obiena on Team Philippines in Paris are weightlifters Vanessa Sarno, John Febuar Ceniza and Elreen Ando; boxers Aira Villegas, Hergie Bacyadan, Carlo Paalam, Nesthy Petecio and Eumir Felix Marcial; rower Joanie Delgaco; fencer Samantha Catantan; gymnasts Carlos Yulo, Emma Malabuyo, Aleah Finnegan and Levi Ruivivar; swimmers Kayla Sanchez and Harold Hatch; judoka Kiyomi Watanabe; golfers Bianca Pagdanganan.

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