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The Tokyo Olympics came and went. While all eyes were drawn to Hidilyn Diaz’s gold medal finish as well as the medal campaigns of Nesthy Petecio, Carlo Paalam, and Eumir Marcial, it’s also important to check out their post-Olympic campaigns.

For some reason, I now give a damn about men’s pole vaulting.

Particularly, men’s pole vaulting.

According to, as of August 24, 2021, here are the names in need of checking:

So yeah…

EJ Obiena…

One of the supporting characters in the drive for the country’s first Olympic gold medal…

… is awesome in the world of men’s pole vaulting.

If this is a preview of great things to come, Obiena did great in the 2021 Wanda Diamond League.

Not only did the former UST alum finish second to world number one Armand Duplantis in the event, but Obiena also unearthed a mind-blowing 5.91m. Sure, Duplantis owned the competition with a whopping 6.01, but Obiena’s feat destroyed the national record as well as the thought that he’s basically a one-and-done Olympian. It might be a bit early to peg him for the 2024 Paris Olympics, but it feels as if joining these competitions and putting his name on the map, will give the pole vaulter brand recognition. This is important especially if you consider how Hidilyn and Carlos Yulo tore up the tourneys leading to the Tokyo games.

On my part, I have taken a liking to the sport of pole vaulting. Like the billiards boom of the late-90s and the early 2000s, I now know a bunch of names like Duplantis, KC Lightfoot, the Lavillenie brothers, Thiago Braz, and the other dude I want to root in these games – Greece’s Emmanouil Karalis. The scoring system of pole vaulting is easy and it’s not like the events are stacked every year.

There are two days left in the Diamond League and I am still checking if pole vaulting will be a thing in its last two playdates. The next major tournament would be the World Athletics Championships in Oregon, USA. The tourney however will happen from July 15 to July 24, 2022. The thing working against Obiena is his age but it’s easy to counter this with enough savvy and experience to score when it matters.

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