EJ Obiena resets Asian record with 6m breakthrough for gold in Norway
MANILA, Philippines-EJ Obiena slithered atop the bar, beat his chest with both fists upon landing and rushed to hug coach Vitaly Petrov tightly.
The country’s pole vault star again reset his Asian and national records, but far more historic was Obiena’s breakthrough of finally hurdling the six-meter barrier en route to winning the Bergen Jump Challenge in Norway.
“It took a few minutes to sink in. But when it did, tears began to fall and there was no greater shoulder to cry on than my coach, Vitaly,” said Obiena.
“Couldn’t have done it without you,” added the world’s No. 3 vaulter after becoming the 24th person all-time on the planet to clear six meters.
Obiena reset his previous Asian and Philippine standards of 5,94 meters that the Filipino athletics celebrity accomplished during the World Athletics Championships last year in Eugene, Oregon where he captured a bronze medal.
He now joined the ranks of pole vault icon Sergey Bubka in the six-meter club along with current world champion and record-holder Armand Duplantis of Sweden.
In breaching the mark, Obiena ended up tied with KC Lightfoot of the United States but ruled the Bergen meet via the count back.
Lightfoot had to clear six meters in two attempts while the Italy-based Obiena needed only a single try.
Sam Kendricks of the United States completed the podium with a 5.88m jump.
Obiena and Lightfoot raised the bar at 6.06, but both were unable to hurdle it.