After missing out on the podium in his debut Olympic Games, pole vaulter Ernest John Obiena is undecided about his next move.
On Tuesday night, Obiena finished 11th in the pole vault final, which was won by world record-holder Armand Duplantis of Sweden. The Filipino cleared 5.50 and 5.70 meters, but fell short of clearing 5.80 meters.
In a press conference organized by PATAFA on Wednesday morning, Obiena stated: “It didn’t turn out the way I wanted it to be. I didn’t feel like I was able to do what I can. I didn’t perform as well as I have been doing.”
“I still haven’t really taken everything completely, digested everything,” he added.
Obiena claimed that he didn’t “feel like himself” for the whole of the competition, which hampered his leaps. “It didn’t feel really good” even when he cleared 5.50 meters on his first attempt.
“I made the bar, I understand, but it didn’t feel good. It didn’t feel like I’m jumping the way I’m jumping, it didn’t feel like it,” he said.
Obiena needed three attempts to clear 5.70 meters, a height he had been consistently clearing in the events preceding up to Tokyo. He came agonizingly near to clearing 5.80 meters, but brushed the bar on his way down each time, forcing it to topple.
He told Gretchen Ho of Cignal TV in the mixed zone after the event that it was “obviously not my best day.”
“I don’t really know what happened. I think it’s more mental, not really physical. You know, you win some, you lose some, but I really wanted to win this,” Obiena said.
“We’ll talk. I think in the next few weeks, I’ll know, maybe in a few days, I’ll know what I wanna do,” he added.
His response remained the same on Wednesday morning. Obiena said he’ll speak with his coach to attempt to find out what went wrong in the final, and then figure out what they’ll do next.
“At the moment, I don’t really know, if I’m gonna compete, if I’m still gonna continue, what I’m gonna do, if I’m gonna do this or that. I have really no idea yet,” he said.
“I’m just trying to plan… A lot of things are… hindi pa ayos. Wala pa ako sa ganoong lugar sa ngayon.”
Obiena, on the other hand, has stated that he would like to return to the Philippines and relax. He has been training in Italy for the past year and misses his family terribly.
“Kung ako lang yung masusunod, gusto kong umuwi,” he said.
“I just don’t wanna think about what I wanna do, just let the time pass,” he added.
“(But) I know that’s not the right thing, that’s not the responsible thing to do. So right now as I said, I’m gonna talk to my coach, try to understand what he wants me to do, and think about what I would want to do, and maybe we can find a compromise of some sort,” he further said.