Obenia, first Pinoy to qualify for Tokyo Olympics, starts medal hunt

The first Filipino to qualifiy for the Tokyo Olympics, EJ Obiena, finally sees action on July 31, hoping to surpass his personal best to get a shot at a gold medal, which would be the second for the country.

Obiena booked his seat in Tokyo after clearing 5.81 meters on Sept. 3, 2019. Now boasting of a personal best of 5.87 meters, a national record, Obiena needs to clear at least 5.80 to advance to the 12-man finals. But to earn a medal, he needs to clear six meters.

NEW HEIGHTS. EJ Obiena knows he has to jump well above his personal best of 5.87 meters to bag a medal in Tokyo.

“I know I can jump six meters…I’ve seen how well I can jump and I’ve seen what I’m capable of,” he said.

Now ranked No. 6 in the world, he knows he can compete with the best, having competed with them regularly in Europe. He also trains with world No. 7 Thiago Braz, the defending Olympic champion.

Obiena will see action at 8:40 a.m. on July 31.

Meanwhile, Nesthey Petecio will face a huge hurdle of her own when she takes on 5-foot-9 Irma Testa of Italy in the women’s featherweight semifinal round
at 12:39 p.m. Petecio, who is five inches shorter, hopes to cut the taller foe to size like what she did with top seed Lin Yu-Ting, who is also 5-foot-9, in the round-of-16.

Another boxer, Carlo Paalam, hopes to get closer to the medal round when he takes on Algeria’s Flissi Mohamed in the flyweight division round-of-16.

“Carlo’s opponent is a very experienced boy. He’s boxing in the WSB (World Series of Boxing). But Carlo’s gonna get moving, similar to the game plan
that he did in his last fight, he probably just continue with that. If it’s working, then we won’t change it,” said Philippine boxing coach Don Abnett of Australia.

I know I can jump 6.0 meters. I’m not sure how I got it dialled in. I’ve seen how well I can jump, and I’ve seen what I’m capable of.

EJ Obiena

In golf, Juvic Pagunsan is hoping for a strong showing after dropping to join 25th after round two. Pagunsan scored 5-under in the first round for joint fifth but hit a two-over 73 in round two to drop to 25th.

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