Italy-based pole vaulter EJ Obiena will scale down on his training program for the Tokyo Olympics next year.
It won’t be as strict as what he usually does, now that the Games have been postponed and delayed for a year because of the threat posed by the coronavirus virus pandemic, which has hit Italy hard.
“He is in transition. Hindi na magiging masyadong regimented ang training niya. It’s now more on staying healthy,” said his father and coach Emerson Obiena, following talks with his son.
The 24-year-old Obiena is among a few select Olympic-bound athletes allowed to continue training in the Italy.
So far, they are prevented from leaving their quarters in Formia, Italy—a seaside town located between Rome and Naples.
Their preparations only get interrupted when they are tested for the virus, or whenever their training facility is sanitized.
“Nag-uusap-usap kami dahil sa cancellation,” said EJ’s father.
With the Games expected to be slated for next year, Obiena will just cross training in other sports in order to stay fit.
He will return to his preparations once things settle down.
Obiena is the first Filipino to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics. He secured a berth in the 2020 Summer Olympics by surpassing the qualifying standard of 5.80 meters, making a leap of 5.81 in a tournament in Chiara, Italy on September 3, 2019.
His feat set a new national record at that time.
“That kind of just keeps you on target and motivated each day on what you need to do, what you need to achieve. That helps a lot, to be honest—just having a direction,” said EJ in a statement.
EJ is coached by Ukrainian pole vaulter Vitaly Petrov, who is known for mentoring world champions like Sergey Bubka, Yelena Isinbayeva and Giuseppe Gibilisco.
Italy, which has a high death toll on the coronavirus, is currently on a nationwide lockdown in an attempt to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
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