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MANILA, Philippines – EJ Obiena missed the podium for the first time in the indoor season as he finished last in the Meeting International de Lievin in France on Wednesday, February 15 (Thursday, February 16, Manila time).
The world No. 3 pole vaulter wound up at 10th place with a mark of 5.64 meters in the World Athletics Indoor Tour event attended by No. 1 Armand Duplantis of Sweden and No. 2 Chris Nilsen of the United States.
Obiena needed two tries to hurdle 5.64m, skipped 5.73m, and stumbled at 5.82m.
The early exit snapped a streak of podium finishes for Obiena, who cracked the top three in each of the first six events he participated in.
He bagged golds in the Perche en Or in France and the Orlen Cup and Orlen Copernicus Cup in Poland, silvers in the Internationales Springer Meeting and ISTAF Indoor in Germany, and bronze in the Mondo Classic in Sweden.
It was a repeat of his 10th-place finish in Lievin last year as Obiena posted a season-low clearance.
As usual, Duplantis lorded over the competition by becoming the only pole vaulter to breach the six-meter mark with a score of 6.01m for his third straight gold to start the year.
Italy’s Claudio Stecchi secured silver with 5.82m, edging Australia’s Kurtis Marschall and USA’s Jacob Wooten – who shared the bronze with a similar 5.82m mark – via countback.
Nilsen also cleared 5.82m but landed at fifth.
Like Obiena, France’s Valentin Lavillenie and Belgium’s Ben Broeders finished with 5.64m, although they took just a single attempt to surpass the height to place above the Filipino.
Other pole vaulters who competed in Lievin included Rutger Koppelaar and Menno Vloon of the Netherlands. – Rappler.com