By KRISTEL SATUMBAGA
Consistency is the key as far as coach Emerson Obiena is concerned when his son, pole vaulter EJ Obiena, seeks a podium finish in the Tokyo Olympics next month.
EJ is currently peaking at the moment after resetting his national record to 5.85 meters at a German outdoor tilt a few days ago – a performance that matched American Sam Kendrick’s bronze-medal feat at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
“Maraming nakakatalon na ganyang height sa mga pole vaulters ngayon, pero ang pag-uusapan na dito kung sino yung pinaka-consistent na makakatalon ng ganun. Yun ang intensyon ni EJ ngayon,” said the older Obiena in Tuesday’s Philippine Sportswriters Association Online Forum.
With current world record holder Armand Duplantis clearing 6.10m in his latest tournament and other pole vaulters also gearing up in the ongoing outdoor season events, Emerson said the end goal is to jump higher than 5.85m.
Emerson said EJ eyes at least two more outdoor events before flying to Tokyo for the July 23 to Aug. 8 Games.
“Important yung mga susunod na tournaments niya kasi polishing of skills yung mga ginagawa dun,” Emerson said.
“Wala pang naka-lineup kung anong mga sasalihan niya, but at least dalawa, makasali pa siya. Or kung kailangan pang mag-adjust sa techniques niya, they can decide to join more.”
Meanwhile, Emerson said his son is still unsure whether to get vaccinated or not since the event is fast approaching.
“Sa ngayon, di pa sila makapag-confirm kung makakapagpa-vaccine or hindi. Pinag-aaralan pa nila kung meron pang time, kung pwede pang maisingit kasi yung training program nila, naka-place na,” Emerson said.
Emerson added they have consulted with some athletes who had their vaccines and noted that some experienced side effects that affected their training.
“Yung iba, may mga reactions sa vaccine na umabot sa 10 days yung hindi magandang pakiramdam ng atleta. Malaking bagay kasi yung 10 days na yun sa preparation ng Olympics lalo na’t papalit na,” Emerson said.
“Kung hindi man maisingit yung vaccination, dadagdagan na lang po yung ingat para yung preparation, hindi rin maapektuhan. Then after ng Olympics, saka na lang po siguro pag-usapan kung kailan magpa-vaccine.”
Emerson added it was a shared sentiment from EJ and his camp in Italy, which also includes training partner, reigning Olympic champion Thiago Braz of Brazil.
At the moment, most national athletes have already gotten their first dose of vaccine late last month. The Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) said Olympic-bound athletes training abroad will get their shots in their host countries.
So far, only Eumir Marcial has completed his vaccine in the United States.
Vaccines are not a requirement to participate in the Games according to the International Olympic Committee.