MANILA, Philippines – EJ Obiena slumped into his worst performance of the season as he placed 10th in the Meeting Hauts-de-France Pas-de-Calais in Lievin on Thursday, February 17 (Friday, February 18, Manila time).
Fresh from ruling the Orlen Cup in Poland where he set a season-best of 5.81 meters last week, Obiena bowed out early in France after failing to clear 5.71m, just narrowly avoiding a last-place finish in the 12-man field.
Obiena easily surpassed 5.51m in just one try but struggled at 5.61m as he needed three attempts to advance to the next round.
However, Obiena eventually got the boot after three straight fouls at 5.71m, clipping the bar on his way down during his final vault.
USA’s Chris Nielsen struck gold after hurdling 5.91m, the only pole vaulter in the event to do so.
Except for his unsuccessful bid at a personal-best 6.03m, Nielsen – the Tokyo Olympics silver medalist – pretty much dominated the competition as he cleared all heights in just one try.
Brazil’s Thiago Braz and the Netherlands’ Menno Vloon pocketed silver and bronze, respectively, after leaping past 5.81m.
Vloon and Braz both skipped 5.86m to get a crack at 5.91m, but both failed.
Braz, though, edged Vloon for the silver as the Brazilian needed just one attempt to overcome 5.81m – his season-best – while the Dutch exhausted three ties.
Others who competed were USA’s Jacob Wooten (4th) Greece’s Emmanuel Karalis (5th), Poland’s Piotr Lisek and Australia’s Kurtis Marschall (6th), USA’s Matt Ludwig (8th), and France’s Renaud Lavillenie (9th).
France’s Alioune Sene (11th) and the Netherlands’ Rutger Koppelaar (12th) finished behind Obiena.
Seeking to bounce back and end the month on a high note, Obiena returns to Poland for the Orlen Copernicus Cup on February 22. – Rappler.com