Paris Olympics

EJ Obiena earns Paris Olympics berth with silver vault in Sweden

Delfin Dioquino

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EJ Obiena earns Paris Olympics berth with silver vault in Sweden

MOMENT. The Philippines' Ernest John Obiena reacts during the men's pole vault competition of the 2023 SEA Games in Cambodia.

Kim Kyung-Hoon/REUTERS

EJ Obiena becomes the first Filipino to qualify for the 2024 Paris Olympics as he finishes behind world record holder Armand Duplantis in the BAUHAUS-galan

MANILA, Philippines – Paris awaits EJ Obiena.

Obiena became the first Filipino to qualify for the 2024 Olympics following his silver-medal performance in the BAUHAUS-galan in Stockholm, Sweden on Sunday, July 2 (Monday, July 3, Manila time).

The 27-year-old from Tondo cleared the entry standard of 5.82m in the Stockholm leg of the prestigious Diamond League and finished behind home bet and world record holder Armand Duplantis.

Registering a foul in his first crack at the qualifying mark, Obiena got the job done in his second attempt as he replicated his feat four years ago when he became the first Filipino to earn a Tokyo Olympics berth.

The world No. 3 skipped 5.90m and bowed out at 5.95m after exhausting all of his three tries.

Duplantis, the reigning Olympic champion, also punched his ticket to Paris and then some as he put on a show for his compatriots.

Surpassing each of his first four heights – 5.62m, 5.82m, 5.95m, and 6.05m – in just a single attempt, Duplantis took a shot at resetting his world record of 6.22m by going for 6.23m.

A new world record, though, will have to wait another day as Duplantis failed to take off in his first two tries and hit the bar in his final attempt.

Obiena and Duplantis were the only pole vaulters to book an Olympic spot in the tournament, with Norway’s Pal Haugen Lillefosse and Belgium’s Ben Broeders both stumbling at 5.82m.

Lillefosse clinched bronze with a 5.72m clearance as he edged Broeders for the last podium spot via countback.

Former Olympic champions Thiago Braz of Brazil and Renaud Lavillenie of France both exited early, while Australia’s Kurtis Marschall and Norway’s Sondre Guttormsen also missed out on Paris berths.

Only 32 male pole vaulters will advance to the Olympics.

The first Asian to join the six-meter club, Obiena preserved his medal streak after securing podium finishes in all of his previous five meets of the outdoor season.


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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.