Filipino bet Ernest John “EJ” Obiena is now in the Top 10 list of pole vaulters seeing action in the Tokyo Olympics.
According to the current Olympic rankings listed by World Athletics, Obiena is tied at 10th spot with Timur Morgunov of Russia and Torben Blech of Germany.
Obiena earned his spot following his season's best showing back in February, when he broke the national record for the second time at the Orlen Cup 2021 Indoor Athletics meeting after clearing a height of 5.86 meters to earn the silver medal.
The performance of the 25-year-old Obiena was regarded as the best ever by an Asian athlete since 2005 when action ended at the Atlas Arena in Łódź, Poland.
Prior to this, Obiena settled for the bronze medal in another showdown with world champion Sam Kendricks of the United States and seasoned veteran Piotr Lisek of Poland in the men’s pole vault event of the Copernicus Cup 2021 indoor athletics meet in Torun Poland.
Obiena cleared the same height of 5.80 meters with Kendricks and Lisek, making a clean attempt of his third try to grab third place.
Kendricks, the 2016 Olympic bronze medallist, collected the gold medal after clearing the elevation in one try, while Lisek, a podium finisher in the 2015, 2017 and 2019 World Championships, also cleared 5.8 meters to settle for the silver.
Obiena is now back in Formia, Italy, where he trains with renowned coach Vitaly Petrov and Rio Olympics gold medallist Thiago Braz.
Obiena has not seen action for the last three months as he awaits word on the list of events that he can join during the European outdoor season.
So far, Armand Duplantis, whose best effort was at 6.18 meters last year, is ranked no. 1, with Kendricks in second, and Renaud Lavillenie of France in third.
Lisek is fourth, with American KC Lightfoot in fifth.