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MANILA, Philippines – The exclusive six-meter club in pole vault has a new member in EJ Obiena.
Obiena finally surpassed the height he had repeatedly failed to clear in past years as he soared past 6m to capture gold in the Bergen Jump Challenge in Norway on Saturday, June 10.
The Filipino star hurdled 6m in just a single try to set new Asian and national records, erasing his previous mark of 5.94m he established when he bagged bronze in the World Athletics Championship in July 2022.
He tried to go for 6.06m but exhausted all of his three attempts.
KC Lightfoot of the United States also recorded a 6m-clearance but settled for silver via countback after needing two tries to make the height.
Tokyo Olympics silver medalist Chris Nilsen of the USA bagged bronze with 5.88m.
Obiena became just the third pole vaulter in this outdoor season to clear the six-meter bar, joining Lightfoot and world record holder Armand Duplantis of Sweden, who owns a world-leading mark of 6.11m.
It was a scintillating campaign for Obiena in Bergen as he bucked a foul in his first attempt of the tournament at 5.53m, needing just a single try to hurdle 5.76m, 5.82m, 5.94m, and ultimately, 6m.
Taking into consideration his record-shattering performance, Obiena should be a cinch for the Paris Games as he needs to clear the entry standard of 5.82m when the Olympic qualification period begins on July 1.
Obiena, who nailed bronze in the Irena Szewinska Memorial in Poland four days ago, will remain in Norway to see action in the Oslo Bislett Games on June 15. – Rappler.com