Obiena proves he is part of pole vault’s elite, bags bronze
An exchange between champions posted on EJ Obiena’s Instagram page shows how comfortable the Filipino is in the company of the world’s best pole vaulters.
In it, Obiena did a mock interview of world record holder Armand Duplantis, after the Swedish star ruled the Wanda Diamond League on Friday in Rome (Saturday in Manila).
“What made you jump high today?” Obiena asked Duplantis.
“You, bro,” the US-born Duplantis said with a smile in the clip that also shot down reports that there was some sort of rift between the two.
“You were jumping great so I had to jump higher than you, man,” Duplantis added.
That he did, logging a 6.15-meter leap that was good for the gold, which broke the 26-year-old outdoor world record of the legendary Sergey Bubka.
Then there’s the other—more important—reason Obiena feels he’s part of the world’s elite.
The country’s bet in the Tokyo Summer Games’ pole vault event bagged his second bronze medal this season after clearing 5.80 m to register a new season-best and match the Olympic standard he logged last year.
The 24-year-old eagle from Tondo had to settle for the bronze behind Belgium’s Ben Broeders, a continental champion, who only needed to clear the same height in two tries.
“The field in the Diamond League in Rome included Duplantis, a world record holder; Broeders, [a] European champion and Renaud Lavillanie from France. The field cant get any tougher than that,” Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association (Patafa) president Philip Ella Juico said in a statement sent to the press.
“Rome showed that the gold medal leap in Tokyo will be between 5.8 m and 6.0 m,” the Patafa chief added. “EJ’s calibrated performance and training regimen does not show signs of early peaking. Our bet is training hard and smart under coach Vitaly Petrov.”
Obiena, who has racked up six podium finishes in eight tournaments since the athletics restart last August, also thanked Petrov on his social media account.
“The man, the myth, the legend,” the caption of a photo showing him and Petrov together read. “[T]his awesome guy … stuck with me throughout this weird season.“
Obiena, the first Filipino athlete to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics, has a total of one gold, two silvers, and three bronzes this season thus far.
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