HANOI — After a long travel process that took almost 24 hours from Formia, Italy to this bustling Vietnamese capital, Asia’s top pole vaulter and Philippine pride Ernest John “EJ” Obiena’s first order of business the minute he stepped into his hotel on Wednesday wasn’t to rest — but to train.
He immediately hit the gym at the Daewoo Hotel to do some light training in the weight room.
“It was a long journey, but okay overall,” said Mr. Obiena, who also plans to train on Friday at the My Dinh National Stadium after his flag-bearing duty on Thursday.
“I hope I get clearance to feel the venue,” said Mr. Obiena, who expressed excitement for his appointment as flag bearer of the 626-strong Team Philippines.
The 26-year-old Mr. Obiena, the world’s sixth best pole vaulter but Asia’s best with a World Athletics score of 1374, is expected to obliterate his own SEA Games’ record of 5.45 meters he set when the Philippines hosted the biennial in 2019.
He currently holds the Philippine record of 5.91 meters, achieved during the Meeting de Paris at the Stade Charlety, Paris on Aug. 28 last year.