Pole vault

Giant upset: Obiena stuns mighty Duplantis to rule Brussels Diamond League

Delfin Dioquino

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Giant upset: Obiena stuns mighty Duplantis to rule Brussels Diamond League

HIGH EXPECTATIONS. Much is expected from EJ Obiena this year after a stellar 2022 campaign.

Johanna Geron/Reuters

EJ Obiena soars to greater heights by dealing world record holder Armand Duplantis his first loss in a year to reign in the Brussels Diamond League in Belgium

MANILA, Philippines – Add an upset win over the great Armand Duplantis to the growing list of accomplishments of EJ Obiena.

Obiena soared to greater heights by dealing world champion and Olympic titleholder Duplantis a rare defeat to reign in the Brussels Diamond League in Belgium on Friday, September 2 (Saturday, September 3, Manila time).

The last two pole vaulters left after 5.81m, the Filipino and the Swede duked it out in a tense mano a mano as they both committed two fouls each at 5.91m before Obiena came out on top by clearing the height on his third try.

Obiena – who owns the Asian record of 5.94m – grazed the bar on his way down, but it stayed on top for a successful vault.

Duplantis did not possess the same luck as Obiena as he knocked the bar off on his third and final attempt for his first loss since August last year.

It was a stunning defeating for Duplantis after he ruled 20 straight events over the past year, including a sensational win in the World Athletics Championships in Eugene, USA in July where he set a world record of 6.21m.

With the surprise victory, Obiena bagged his third consecutive gold medal as he also topped the True Athletes Classics and St. Wendel City Jump in Germany over the past week.

He also qualified for the Diamond League Grand Final in Zurich, Switzerland later this September.

Overall, it was the fifth straight podium finish for Obiena, who snagged gold in the Internationales Stabhochsprung-Meeting in Germany and pocketed bronze in the Lausanne Diamond League in Switzerland.

Tokyo Olympics silver medalist Chris Nilsen of the United States hurdled 5.71m for the bronze as he edged Rutger Koppelaar of The Netherlands and Thiago Braz of Brazil for the last podium spot via countback.

France’s Renaud Lavillenie, Norway’s Sondre Guttormsen, and Germany’s Oleg Zernikel also competed in the 10-man event.

Obiena returns to Germany as he looks to stretch his winning streak in the ISTAF Berlin on Sunday. – 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.