Obiena, POC prexy to collaborate, hold major pole vault competition in PH in 2023
CEBU CITY, Philippines — The World No. 3 pole vaulter Ernest John “EJ” Obiena and Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) President Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino is brewing up a major invitational pole vault competition in 2023 bringing in world record holder Armand Duplantis of Sweden.
Obiena, who is in the country for a short vacation following his highly-successful season, has paid a courtesy visit to Tolentino in Tagaytay City.
During one of their conversations, Obiena and Tolentino discussed this major pole vault invitational that would further promote the Philippines in the world pole vaulting scene.
If plans will push through, Obiena and Tolentino could bring in world No. 2 Chris Nilsen, Rio 2016 Olympics gold medalist Thiago Braz and of course, Duplantis, the world record holder, and the reigning Olympic gold medalist.
These world class pole vaulters and several others could perform in front of Filipino fans for the first time in history.
“The objective is to bring them here after the outdoor season’s over,” Obiena told Tolentino in a press release from the POC on Wednesday, Sept. 22, 2022.
Tolentino then agreed and their first plan is to choose a suitable venue.
“The Picnic Grove here could be an ideal venue,” said Tolentino in the POC press release.
Picnic Grove is a famous Tagaytay City destination which Tolentino is now serving as the mayor.
The setup, according to Obiena, would be similar to those in Europe—a street venue where the runway, the box, crossbars and landing area would all be portable or collapsible.
“With the Taal Volcano as backdrop, what more could you ask for—a world-class pole vault action in one of the most picturesque tourist attractions in the country,” Tolentino said.
“Every jump will be postcard-perfect.”
They are planning to have it late September or in the middle of October next year. It is timely after the European outdoor season caps off along with the Asian Games which both takes place in September.
“The event will be a spectator-friendly event, and it’s planned that it (will) be sanctioned [by World Athletics],” said Obiena who hauled six gold medals in his European campaign.
For Tolentino, the event would further boost Tagaytay’s tourism.
“It’s great for tourism and the Philippines will be in the international pole vaulting map. It’s very doable despite next year’s busy schedule. It’s going to be a big event so we have to plan this carefully,” Tolentino said.
They are planning to coordinate with the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) of newly-appointed chairman Noli Eala and the Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association under its new president Terry Capistrano.
“We are hoping to work with of POC and PSC, it’s a mix collaboration. This is going to be historic that’s why I am pushing for it. Pole vault is a standard competition so it’s doable,” Obiena said.
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