Top Filipino pole vaulter Ernest John Obiena is now ranked 14th in the latest pole vault world rankings released by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF).
The rankings at the start of the season actually had Obiena at seventh in the world, but after a series of international tournaments, the 23-year old athlete was placed seven rungs lower.
Still, Obiena’s inclusion in the top 15 strengthened his bid to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Only those who cleared 5.80 meters in any IAAF-sanctioned competition or those who are in the top 32 in the world on or before the qualifying deadline set by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) next year will make it to next year’s Summer Games.
Obiena, who is still on leave from the University of Sto. Tomas, is just .04 centimeters shy of the 5.80 meter Olympic Qualifying Standard after clearing 5.76 meters on his way to a gold medal in the 30th Summer Universiade in Napoli, Italy last July 12.
The 6-foot-2 pole vaulter will try to clear the Olympic Qualifying Standard in the finals of the Diamond League on August 29 in Zurich, Switzerland or in the World Championships in Doha, Qatar in September.
He can also surpass the 5.80 meter mark in the 30th Southeast Asian Games as the athletics competition of the regional biennial games is sanctioned by the IAAF.
According to Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association (PATAFA) officials, Obiena has cleared the height of 5.80 meters several times during practice.
PATAFA President Philip Ella Juico is confident Obiena will meet the pole vault Olympic Qualifying Standard either in the Diamond League Finals or in the World Championships.