Pole vault

Back in groove: EJ Obiena rules Poland event with year-best vault

Delfin Dioquino

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Back in groove: EJ Obiena rules Poland event with year-best vault

ROAR. The Philippines' Ernest John Obiena in action during the men's pole vault final of the 2023 World Athletics Championships.

Marton Monus/REUTERS

EJ Obiena displays an improved form in the Irena Szewinska Memorial in Poland after a shaky start to the outdoor season as he shows his readiness for the Paris Olympics

MANILA, Philippines – It seems like EJ Obiena has rediscovered his groove with the Paris Olympics just around the corner.

The Filipino pole vault star posted his highest clearance of the year as he ruled the Irena Szewinska Memorial in Bydgoszcz, Poland, on Thursday, June 20 (Friday, June 21, Manila time).

Back in action after a near three-week break, Obiena soared past 5.97m in one try to claim his second gold medal of the outdoor season and third podium finish overall.

Greece’s Emmanouil Karalis bagged silver with a personal-best 5.92m, while Poland’s Piotr Lisek nailed bronze with 5.75m.

Obiena displayed an improved form after a shaky start to the outdoor season marked by a pair of subpar performances primarily caused by his pole mishaps.

After opening the outdoor season with a golden feat in the Los Angeles Grand Prix in the United States in May, Obiena broke one of his poles and placed seventh in the Ostrava Golden Spike in Czech Republic.

He broke another pole in the Oslo Bislett Games in Norway but still managed to tie for silver, then missed the podium again in the BAUHAUS-galan in Sweden earlier this June as he finished seventh on borrowed poles.

Utilizing a new set of poles, Obiena delivered quite a performance in Poland, clearing 5.55m, 5.75m, 5.82m, 5.87m, and 5.97m in a combined six attempts.

His 5.97m clearance is his highest mark since he matched his Asian record of 6.00m when nailed a historic silver in the World Athletics Championships in August last year.

Obiena tried to reset his Asian record by going for 6.02m alongside Karalis, but both Olympic-bound athletes fell short.

Considered a strong medal contender for the Paris Games, Obiena has been hard at work for the quadrennial showpiece that will come off the wraps on July 26. – 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.