EJ Obiena clears six-meter bar in Norway meet, becomes latest member of the elite class

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BESTING YOURSELF. EJ Obiena shattered his personal, national, and Asian records in the men's pole vault after leaping past the six-meter clearance in the Bergen Jump Challenge. PHOTO: PNA
Ernest John "EJ" Obiena became the 24th member of the six-meter club after his historic performance in Norway.
Obiena cleared the six meters for the first time in his pole vaulting career to capture the Bergen Jump Challenge title on Saturday, June 10.
Behind his successful six-meter clearance, the third-ranked Filipino pole vaulter shattered the national and Asian record of 5.94m he registered in the World Athletics Championships on July 2022 to nab the bronze medal.
"It all started with a dream to jump over 5m and set the National Record to now be the 24th* person all-time to go over the 6m barrier and the first ever Asian/Filipino." said Obiena, who is the first Asian pole vaulter in history to overcome 6m, making his sensational leap more special.
"It took a few moments to sink in. But when it did, tears began to fall, there was no greater shoulder to cry on than my coach, Vitaliy. Couldn't have done it without you." Obiena added on his Facebook post. "Still a lot of work ahead and still a long season. Just happy and proud to be part of the 6m Club."
Obiena did the historic feat in his first attempt to beat KC Lightfoot of the United States of America (USA), who leaped past the same height but in two tries to settle for silver.
USA's Chris Nilsen, the 2020 Tokyo Olympics silver medalist, finished third with 5.88m.
Lightfoot and world record holder Armand Duplantis of Sweden are the only pole vaulters to beat the six-meter bar in the outdoor season before Obiena joined them.
The 27-year-old Tokyo 2020 Olympian tried to clear 6.06m but failed in his three attempts.
Committing a foul in his first attempt at 5.53m, Obiena stepped on the pedal to clear the height before hurdling 5.76m, 5.82, and 5.94m in just a single try and acing 6m ultimately.
This triumphant victory can give Obiena momentum ahead of the Olympic qualifying period, starting on July 1, as he must clear the entry standard of 5.82m to reach the quadrennial meet.
Before the Norwegian meet, Obiena snagged bronze in the Memorial Ireny Szewinska tiff following his gold medal finish in the 32nd Southeast Asian Games in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, where he broke his own SEA Games record.
He will stay in Norway to compete in the Oslo Bislett Games on June 15.

Last Modified: 2023-Jun-12 12.40.54 UTC+0800