By Kristel Satumbaga

Filipino pole vaulter EJ Obiena remains optimistic in the wake of every athlete’s situation during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, particularly after organizers announced the 2020 Tokyo Olympics’ postponement late Tuesday.

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EJ Obiena says he will continue training despite the Olympics postponement as part of his growth process as an athlete. (Photo by TED ALJIBE / AFP)

Obiena, who became the first qualifier to the Games after reaching the standard in a European tournament last September, said the recent developments will not stop him from training.

“I need to continue to grow as an athlete,” said the 24-year-old national record holder.

“I’m waiting for a lot of changing variables, but at the moment, I’m staying here.”

Obiena has been training in Formia, Italy for the past year for his debut appearance at the Games. But that would have to wait as the International Olympic Committee and the Prime Minister of Japan agreed to reschedule the Games in light of the global health crisis.

Obiena has not complaints, believing that “things (COVID-19) are currently bigger than sports.”

With Italy currently on lockdown after registering one of the largest number of infected cases and deaths, Obiena is still grateful of his situation. He can still access the training facilities and can still go out to buy essentials.

The training center has already implemented stricter measures as access were limited to only athletes. Obiena said they are being tested every day like checking their temperatures.

“It’s not too bad. Not really the best, but definitely still better than the others. I have a form from the training center that I can go to the supermarket. I do this maybe every 14 days,” he said.

“Just a state of mind, I think.”

Obiena is just one of the athletes across the globe affected by the pandemic as major international tournaments have been put on hold, cancelled and postponed.

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