MANILA, Philippines – EJ Obiena secured his third podium finish in as many tournaments to start the year after bagging bronze in the Mondo Classic in Uppsala, Sweden on Thursday, February 2 (Friday, February 3, Manila time).
Obiena cleared a season-best 5.91m as he finished behind world record holder Armand Duplantis of Sweden and KC Lightfoot of the United States to follow up on his gold in France and silver in Germany over the past week.
Needing three tries to surpass 5.91m, the Asian record holder attempted to breach the six-meter mark for the first time but recorded back-to-back fouls at the height.
Obiena then saved his final try for 6.05m only to hit the bar on his way up.
Still, the world No. 3 tied his personal and national indoor records he set in the Perche Elite Tour in France in March last year with his 5.91m clearance.
With hardly no surprise, Duplantis ruled his own event and claimed his first gold medal of the year after hurdling a world leading mark of 6.10m.
Determined to put on a show before his countrymen, Duplantis sought to shatter his world record of 6.20m by going for 6.22m but failed as he exhausted all of his three attempts.
Meanwhile, Lightfoot clinched silver with 5.91m, edging Obiena for second place via countback after clearing the height in two vaults.
Ten out of the 11 competitors remained in the running following the first two rounds before the field got halved, with Belgium’s Ben Broeders, France’s Thibaut Collet, USA’s Sam Kendricks, Brazil’s Thiago Braz, and Germany’s Bo Kanda Lita Baehre stumbling at 5.82m.
Australia’s Kurtis Marschall and Norway’s Pal Haugen Lillefosse then bowed out at 5.91m, leaving Duplantis, Obiena, and Lightfoot to battle for the podium spots.
Greece’s Emmanouil Karalis got the boot the earliest after failing to leap past the starting height of 5.52m.– Rappler.com
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