Pole vault

New feat as EJ Obiena resets Asian indoor record in Germany tilt

Delfin Dioquino

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New feat as EJ Obiena resets Asian indoor record in Germany tilt

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

Marton Monus/REUTERS

EJ Obiena rules the ISTAF Indoor Berlin for the second time in four years as the Filipino pole vault star eclipses the previous Asian indoor record that stood for over two decades

MANILA, Philippines – Both the Asian indoor and outdoor pole vault records now belong to EJ Obiena.

Obiena continued his stellar start to the year as he picked up his second straight gold medal after ruling the ISTAF Indoor Berlin in Germany on Friday, February 23 (Saturday, February 24, Manila time).

Dominating the nine-man field, Obiena cleared 5.93m to shatter the previous Asian indoor record of 5.92m set by Kazakhstan’s Igor Potapovich in 1998 and his own national indoor record of 5.91m he notched in 2022.

It was also Potapovich’s record that Obiena broke when the Filipino star reset the Asian record – indoor or outdoor – with a 5.93m clearance in the Golden Roof Challenge in 2021.

Obiena has smashed that Asian record multiple times as it now stands at 6.00m.

The USA’s Olen Tray Oates finished a far second with 5.75m as he failed to challenge Obiena, while Poland’s Robert Sobera placed third with 5.66m, edging Germany’s Torben Blech for the bronze via countback.

Needing just a single attempt in each of the last three heights, Oates hit a snag after committing a foul on his first crack at 5.82m – a height that Obiena easily surpassed in just one try.

Oates upped the ante by moving up to 5.88m but to no avail as he exhausted his last two attempts.

Although already secured of his second crown in the Berlin meet in four years, Obiena raised the bar and successfully cleared 5.93m after two tries.

Obiena last ruled the Berlin tilt in 2021 before he settled for fourth place in 2022 and a runner-up finish to world record holder Armand Duplantis of Sweden in 2023.

It has been a promising buildup for the Paris Olympics as Obiena also topped his first event of the year, the Memorial Josip Gasparac in Osijek, Croatia, three days prior.

Obiena heads to Glasgow, Scotland, for the World Indoor Championships on March 3. – 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.