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MANILA, Philippines – A season-worst performance seemed to have lit a fire under EJ Obiena.
Obiena captured a second straight gold medal after ruling the NetAachen Domspringen in Germany with a clearance of 5.92 meters on Wednesday, September 6 (Thursday, September 7, Manila time).
Making up for a surprising 10th-place finish in the Weltklasse Zurich in Switzerland less than a week ago which marked the first time he missed the podium in the current outdoor season, Obiena has been on a golden tear.
For the first time after four tries, the Filipino reigned in the ISTAF Berlin three days ago following a 5.92m vault and replicated that feat in Aachen as he bested 14 other pole vaulters.
Obiena has won 13 medals – including six golds – in the 14 meets he participated in for the season.
Rio de Janeiro Olympic bronze medalist Sam Kendricks of the United States settled for silver with 5.87m after engaging Obiena in a mano a mano for the crown.
Kendricks registered a foul in his first attempt at 5.92m before he agreed with Obiena to raise the bar to 6.02m, where he exhausted his last two tries.
Thibaut Collet of France bagged bronze after surpassing 5.82m.
Obiena is a cinch for another gold medal as he and weightlifting star Hidilyn Diaz banner the Filipino contingent for the upcoming Asian Games in Huangzhou, China later this September.
The first and only Asian to join the six-meter club, Obiena is also the reigning two-time continental champion.
But before the Asian Games, Obiena will see action in the Memorial Van Damme – the Brussels, Belgium leg of the Diamond League – on Saturday, September 9. – Rappler.com