ERNEST JOHN “EJ” OBIENA vies in two competitions in Norway starting with the Bergen Jump Challenge on Saturday with the same game plan he used in clinching a bronze medal last week in Poland.
Obiena, the world No. 3 pole vaulter and Asian record holder, will be using longer poles in his Norwegian sojourn that wraps up with the Oslo Bislett Games on Thursday.
“EJ used bigger poles in training and bigger poles mean more power and more height,” Obiena’s long-time adviser Jim Lafferty told BusinessMirror on Friday.
Obiena made 5.72 meters in clinching bronze in Bydgoszcz, Poland, where he kicked off his outdoor campaign. He finished behind American Chris Nilsen (5.92) and Pole Piotr Lisek (5.82).
Lafferty said Obiena’s plan is to be consistent in the three meets and later improve on his height come the Olympic qualification window starting July 1.
Obiena needs to clear 5.82 meters—below his Asian record of 5.4—to return to the Olympics in Paris next year.
“All of these are part of a well-planned process by EJ and Coach Vitaly [Petrov] to adjust to various changes in his approach—and move to bigger poles—ahead of major competitions coming up such as Asian Games and world championships,” Lafferty said.
Obiena has his eyes on the Olympic qualifying standard either at the Asian Championships in Pattaya from July 12 to 16, World Athletics Championships in Budapest from August 19 to 27 and the Hangzhou Asian Games from September 23 to October 8.
“As long as we see continued progress then these meets will be considered successful,” Lafferty said. “We’re taking appropriately a mid- to long-term view, to go higher we have to do different things.”