MANILA, Philippines – EJ Obiena vaulted to a promising start for the indoor season, snaring silver in the Internationales Springer-Meeting held in Cottbus, Germany on Wednesday, January 25 (Thursday, January 26, Manila time).
The Filipino cleared 5.77m to finish behind United States’ two-time world champion Sam Kendricks, who topped the event with a score of 5.82m.
After teetering on the brink of an early exit as he needed three tries to hurdle 5.50m, Obiena seized the lead in the 10-man competition by soaring past 5.77m with just a single attempt.
But Obiena stumbled at 5.82m, while Kendricks took just one try to clear the height en route to his first gold medal of the year.
Obiena faltered midair in his first two attempts at 5.82m then hit the bar on his way down in his final vault.
Belgium’s Ben Broeders snagged bronze with a clearance of 5.72m as he skipped 5.77m and tallied three fouls at 5.82m.
Other competitors were Gillian Ladwig and Bo Kanda Lita Baehre of Germany, Piotr Lisek of Poland, Matt Ludwig of the United States, Rutger Koppelaar of the Netherlands, Oleksandr Onufriyev of Ukraine, and Huang Bokai of China.
Much is expected from Obiena this year after a stellar 2022 campaign that saw him bag 12 gold medals, including one in the Brussels Diamond League in Belgium, where he stunned world record holder Armand Duplantis of Sweden.
Obiena also pocketed a historic bronze in the World Athletics Championships in Oregon, USA as he set a new Asian record of 5.94m.