MANILA, Philippines – EJ Obiena leapt to a new season-high as he captured silver in the Perche Elite Tour in Rouen, France on Saturday, March 5 (Sunday, March 6, Manila time).
The Filipino pole vault star surpassed 5.91 meters for the first time this year as he eclipsed his previous season-best of 5.81m he set in his gold-medal finishes in the Orlen Cup and Orlen Copernicus Cup in Poland in February.
His 5.91-meter clearance is just two centimeters short of the Asian record of 5.93m Obiena established in the Golden Roof Challenge in Austria in September last year.
Obiena also broke his personal and national indoor record of 5.86m, which he notched in the 2021 edition of the Orlen Cup.
Needing three tries to clear 5.81m, Obiena passed on 5.86m and hurdled 5.91m in just one attempt as he roared in jubilation.
Obiena then pointed to his wrist band that represented the colors of Ukraine, the besieged country being invaded by its neighbor Russia.
Vitaly Petrov, who coaches Obiena, is Ukrainian.
Obiena aimed to shatter his Asian record by going for 6.01m, but failed after exhausting all of his three attempts.
Tokyo Olympics silver medalist Chris Nielsen of the United States bagged gold after soaring past 6.05m, while Rio de Janeiro Games gold winner Thiago Braz of Brazil claimed bronze with 5.91m.
Obiena edged Braz for the silver as the Brazilian took three tries to clear 5.91m.
USA’s Jacob Wooten (5.81m) and France’s Valentine Lavillenie (5.81m) finished at fourth and fifth, respectively, followed by French trio of Ethan Cormont (5.71m), Matthieu Collar (5.71m) and Thibaut Collar (5.61m).
Menno Vloon (5.61m) of the Netherlands and home bets Renaud Lavillenie (5.51m) and Kevin Meyer (5.26m) completed the list of participants. – Rappler.com