EJ Obiena leaps six-meter anew, cops historic silver in WAC 2023
Posted: 2023-Aug-28 19.27.40 UTC+0800
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Ernest John "EJ" Obiena didn't know when to stop.
Relentless, determined, and committed, the 27-year-old Filipino pole vaulter brought pride to the Philippines anew with another historic performance in the 2023 World Athletics Championships (WAC).
Obiena soared past the six-meter bar for the second time this year, matching his career-best to settle for the maiden silver of the Southeast Asian country in WAC history in Budapest, Hungary on Sunday, August 27 (Manila time).
The result showed the growth of Obiena since his third-place finish in the same competition held in Oregon, United States of America (U.S.A.) last year.
In 2022, Obiena bagged the bronze after clearing 5.95m – almost a silver but lost via countback to home bet Christopher Nilsen.
Sweden's Armand Duplantis topped the event with a record-breaking 6.22 leap.
This time, the Asian record holder reached an entirely new level, replicating his successful 6m vault in the Bergen Jump Challenge in Norway last June for the second-place honor.
Top-ranked Duplantis, the reigning Olympic champion, defended his title by overcoming 6.10m.
The Swedish tried to eclipse his world record by raising the bar to 6.23 but failed.
Nilsen and Australia's Kurtis Marschall completed the podium finishers by listing an identical 5.95m clearance.
Only five of the 12 finalists managed to surpass the 5.85m: Duplantis, Obiena, Marschall, Nilsen and France's Thibaut Collet.
The remaining Filipino representative in the world championship – as hurdlers Eric Cray and Robyn Brown bowed out of contention in the preliminary heats – easily cruised past 5.90m, as well as Nilsen and Collet.
Duplantis skipped the height.
Marschall, who failed on his first try of 5.90m, decided to go straight to 5.95m and was successful. The Australian matched his personal best he registered during the Meeting International de Sotteville last July. Collet did the same and also succeeded.
Unfortunately, the real test began when the bar was raised to 6m.
Duplantis overcame the height easily in one attempt, while Obiena exhausted two turns to succeed.
Other vaulters fell one by one starting Collet, then Marschall, and Nilsen.
With his world championship triumph, Obiena made it 9/9 medals in all outdoor competitions he joined dating back to the 32nd Southeast Asian Games.
Before the biennial meet, Obiena brought home the silver in the prestigious Wanda Diamond League Monaco leg.
In Diamond League's first leg set in Bauhaus-Galan, Obiena punched his ticket for the 2024 Paris Olympics as he breached the 5.82-meter qualifying mark.
Seeking a strong finish, Obiena will represent the country in the pandemic-delayed 2022 Asian Games in Hangzhou, China in September.