April 23, 2024

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EJ Obiena Continues Medal Streak With Silver Medal In France

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EJ Obiena, the Asian record-holder and world No. 3 pole-vaulter, added another medal to his outdoor season tally, securing the silver at the Meeting International de Sotteville in Rouen, France, Friday, July 7 (Saturday, July 8, Philippine time). 

The impressive achievement marked Obiena’s seventh consecutive podium finish this season, further solidifying his status as a top contender in the sport.

Fresh off his Paris Olympics qualification earned through a silver medal won at the BAUHAUS-Galan in Stockholm, Sweden, Obiena continued his remarkable form by clearing 5.72 meters in Rouen. While he encountered some challenges at the height of 5.87 meters, requiring two attempts, Obiena displayed resilience and determination.

Australia’s Kurtis Marschall emerged as the gold medalist, registering a clearance of 5.95 meters. Not only did Marschall secure the top spot on the podium, but he also qualified for the Paris Olympics by surpassing the entry standard of 5.82 meters. He joined Obiena, Sweden’s Armand Duplantis, and Germany’s Bo Kanda Lita Baehre as athletes who have already secured their spots in Paris.

Obiena cleared 5.72 meters in a single attempt, skipping the first four heights. However, he encountered some challenges at 5.87 meters, exhausting two tries without success. With one shot remaining, Obiena aimed to clear 5.92 meters but fell short, allowing Marschall, who successfully cleared 5.82 meters on his third try, to claim the gold.

Marschall continued to impress by reaching new heights, setting a personal best with a clearance of 5.95 meters. France’s Thiery Baptiste also cleared 5.72 meters but had to settle for the bronze medal, while Obiena secured the silver through a countback.

Obiena’s podium finish in France marked his seventh consecutive medal in the seven meets he has participated in this season. His impressive streak includes two gold medals, two silvers, and three bronzes. 

Notably, his standout performance came in June at the Bergen Jump Challenge in Norway, where he became the first Asian athlete to join the exclusive six-meter club.

Among the notable athletes who also competed in Rouen were former Olympic champions Thiago Braz of Brazil and Renaud Lavillenie of France, adding further prestige to the event.

With his Paris Olympics qualification secured and consistent podium finishes, Obiena remains determined to improve with each competition, striving for further glory. His commitment to continuous growth and excellence in the sport is evident as he makes his mark on the international stage.

Looking ahead, Obiena will lead the 23-member Philippine team at the Asian Athletics Championships scheduled from July 12 to 16 at the Supachalasai National Stadium in Bangkok, Thailand. Fellow athletes such as hurdler Eric Cray and long jumper Janry Ubas, who have strong chances of making the Olympic cut, aim to join Obiena in representing the Philippines in Paris.

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