Obiena settles for silver in Hengelo
World record-holder Armand Duplantis is the yardstick by which the finest pole vaulters on the planet measure themselves.
Ernest John Obiena faced the 21-year-old Swedish pole vault ace late Sunday and found out first-hand the challenge that lies in the coming Tokyo Olympics after finishing second in the FBK Games in Hengelo, Netherlands.
Duplantis cleared 6.10 meters to rule the meet hailed as the gold standard in the World Athletics Continental Tour, while Obiena showed progress with a 5.80-meter jump on his second tournament of the ongoing outdoor season.
“I improved the jump to 5.80 for a silver medal. I am doing my best for a better performance and I still need a lot of things to work on,’’ said Obiena, the current Asian champion and record-holder.
Obiena, who topped the Folksam Athletics Grand Prix in Gothenburg, Sweden at the start of the outdoor season last week with a 5.70-meter effort, elevated the bar to 5.86m in a bid to erase his personal best of 5.81m but couldn’t hurdle the height without flaw.
The 25-year-old Southeast Asian Games gold medalist has another top-level outdoor competition in Mossingen, Germany on June 11 before returning to his training camp in Formia, Italy.
Ukranian coach Vitaly Petrov will then evaluate his performance in the three tournaments where he participated and recalibrate the training program entering the final stretch of his Olympic preparation.
Duplantis tried to overshadow his world outdoor record of 6.15m after pushing it to 6.19m, but to no avail.
Dutchman Menno Vloom cleared the same height as Obiena but settled for the bronze via the countback. Vloom will compete with Obiena and Duplantis in the Tokyo Games on July 23-Aug. 8.