Pole vault

EJ Obiena settles for joint 4th in final meet before Paris Olympics

Delfin Dioquino

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EJ Obiena settles for joint 4th in final meet before Paris Olympics

SENSATIONAL. EJ Obiena reacts after the Asian Games men's pole vault final.

Jeremy Lee/REUTERS

Filipino pole vault star EJ Obiena finishes tied for fourth in the Meeting de Paris, a Diamond League leg ruled by reigning Olympic champion Armand Duplantis

MANILA, Philippines – Filipino pole vault star EJ Obiena missed the podium in his final tournament before the Olympics as he settled for joint fourth in the Meeting de Paris in France on Sunday, July 7.

Obiena finished tied with Greece’s Emmanouil Karalis with a clearance of 5.75m in the Diamond League leg ruled by reigning Olympic champion and world record holder Armand Duplantis of Sweden.

Showing he is ready to defend his throne in the Paris Games, Duplantis picked up his 10th gold medal in as many events this year by soaring past 6.00m.

The USA’s Sam Kendricks bagged silver with a season-best 5.95m, while France’s Thibaut Collet snagged bronze with 5.85m.

Coming off a pair of golden performances in the Irena Szewinska Memorial and Czeslaw Cybulski Memorial in Poland, Obiena fell short of a third straight podium finish after back-to-back fouls at 5.85m put him in a tight spot.

He opted to use his final attempt at 5.95m, but to no avail.

Still, Obiena has made great strides in his Olympic buildup as he recorded his highest clearance in almost a year when he hurdled 5.97m in the Irena Szewinska Memorial in June.

Aside from Obiena, Duplantis, Kendricks, Collet, and Karalis, the field in Meeting Paris featured a bevy of Olympic-bound pole vaulters, including world No. 3 Chris Nilsen of the USA and No. 5 Kurtis Marschall of Australia.

Obiena, ranked second in the world behind Duplantis, stands as one of the Philippines’ strongest medal bets as he looks to redeem himself after a disappointing Olympic debut, which saw him place 11th in the Tokyo Games.

From Paris, Obiena is expected to join the rest of Team Philippines in its training camp in Metz to finalize his Olympic preparations. – 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.