TOKYO Olympics-bound pole vaulter Ernest John Obiena feels like at home at his new training center in Padova or Padua in Italy.
“I’m doing okay here. The training facilities are great, especially for the indoor training,” Obiena told the BusinessMirror on Sunday. “It has complete equipment. But it’s cold here.”
Sure it’s cold in Padua—on Monday it was -2 Celsius. Situated at Italy’s Veneto region, Obiena’s training camp at the Padova University Sports Center is some 630 kilometers far north of the World Pole Vault Center in Formia, where the 24-year-old Obiena was locked down for practically the entire 2020.
Obiena and his training partner, Rio 2016 gold medalist Thiago Braz of Brazil, were forced to move camp after Covid-19 cases in southern Italy escalated in recent months.
“It is stricter here, but the good thing is I can still train well,” Obiena said.
With six months to go before the July 23 to August 8 Tokyo Games, Obiena said he is embracing all opportunities to polish his skills.
“I’m on a good roll but the Olympics is still far away. So I’m just taking it one day at a time,” he said.
Obiena was away from his family during the holidays, something that’s no longer unusual since has been out of the country training or competing in the last six years.
“It’s a part of sacrifices. I’m doing my job here, I want to give pride to the country,” he said.
Competitions are in hibernation during winter with Obiena and Braz keeping themselves in shape indoors.
Obiena clinched seven medals, including one gold, in crowd-less competitions in Europe last year.