Pole vault

EJ Obiena opens season at 4th in Berlin meet

Delfin Dioquino

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EJ Obiena opens season at 4th in Berlin meet

BUSY SCHEDULE. EJ Obiena has four more events lined up for the rest of February.

Benoit Tessier/Reuters

Still seemingly groping for top form after a knee surgery, EJ Obiena settles for fourth in the ISTAF Berlin, his first event of the year

MANILA, Philippines – EJ Obiena fell short of a podium spot in his season debut in Germany as he landed at fourth in the ISTAF Berlin at the Mercedes-Benz Arena on Friday, February 4 (Saturday, February 5, Manila time).

Still seemingly groping for top form after a knee surgery in January, the Filipino pole vaulter failed to clear 5.81 meters to finish behind Sweden’s Armand Duplantis, USA’s KC Lightfoot, and Germany’s Oleg Zernikel.

Obiena – whose Asian record stands at 5.93m – easily surpassed the 5.59m and 5.70m heights on his first attempt but stumbled at 5.81m, committing three straight fouls to bow out of medal contention.

As anticipated, reigning Olympic champion and world record holder Duplantis ruled the event as he bested Lightfoot in a mano a mano for the gold by being the only pole vaulter to leap past 6.03m.

With the gold in the bag, Duplantis tried to shatter his world record of 6.18m by going for 6.19m, but it was just not the day for the Swedish star to break the mark he set two years ago.

Zernikel settled for bronze by notching a new personal best of 5.81m.

Germany’s Bo Kanda Lita Baehre and Poland’s Piotr Lisek also crashed out at 5.81m like Obiena, but both needed two tries to hurdle 5.70m, allowing the Filipino to clinch fourth place.

Lita Baehre and Lisek wound up at fifth and sixth, respectively, followed by the Netherland’s Rutger Koppelaar and Germany’s Torben Blech.

Obiena returns to action in a few days as he heads to Sweden for the International Pole Vault Invitational – the second of his five competitions lined up this month – in Uppsala on February 9. – Rappler.com

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Delfin Dioquino

Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.