EJ Obiena gold Memorial Josip Gasparac Croatia

EJ Obiena claims the gold medal at Memorial Josip Gasparac in Croatia to begin his 2024 campaign.–Photo from EJ Obiena’s Instagram

EJ Obiena will not just shoot for a medal in the coming World Athletics Indoor Championships in Glasgow, Scotland.

The Filipino pole vault icon will also get a chance to soak up the same atmosphere that awaits him in the 2024 Paris Olympics. “This world event is an elite group and is a sneak preview of [the] Paris [Olympics],’’ Philippine Athletics president Terry Capistrano told the Inquirer.

Obiena hopes to score a possible breakthrough by bringing his act to the March 1 to March 3 event.

Hurdler John Cabang Tolentino and sprinter Lauren Hoffman will also join the event.

“To have three qualifiers for the world indoor championships is already a milestone in itself,’’ added Capistrano.

Obiena, the world’s No. 2 vaulter, battles for a podium performance against his toughest rivals on the planet headlined by world champion Armand “Mondo’’ Duplantis of Sweden.

In their last meeting at the World Athletics Championships in Budapest, Hungary, in August last year, Duplantis ruled supreme with the Filipino Asian record holder of 6 meters clinching the silver medal ahead of third-placer Kurtis Marschall of Australia.

Obiena’s buildup for the world indoors has been promising, nailing both gold medals in the Memorial Josip Gasparac in Osijek, Croatia, and the ISTAF Indoor in Berlin, Germany, over the weekend in record-shattering fashion.

The celebrated Italy-based ward of Ukrainian coach Vitaly Petrov wiped out the 25-year-old event record of Kazakhstan’s Igor Potapovich (5.92 m) by clearing 5.93 m in Berlin on Saturday.

Obiena, the first Filipino qualifier to the Paris Games slated in July, is considered a clear threat to Duplantis, the 2020 Tokyo Olympics gold medalist. INQ

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