May 21, 2024

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World Championship bronze medalist Ernest John “EJ” Obiena ended the second part of his competition season on a high note, clinching back-to-back gold medals for the Philippines in Switzerland and Liechtenstein.

World No. 3 Obiena emerged champion in the Gala Dei Castelli athletics competition in Bellinzona, Switzerland Tuesday, September 13 (Philippine Time), after ruling the 2022 Golden Fly Liechtenstein on Sunday, September 11.

On his Facebook post, the 26-year-old Obiena wrote: “Capped this season with a back to back win and a meeting record yesterday. Now is time for rest and regroup for next year. Mandatory post-season post coming soon. Maraming salamat po sa lahat ng sumubaybay sa aking mga laban nitong mga nakaraang linggo. Lalo na po sa mga kababayang pumunta at nanood sa aking laro. Maraming salamat po (Thank you very much to everyone who followed my battles these past few weeks. Especially to the people who came and watched my game. Thank you very much)!”

A screenshot of World Championship bronze medalist Ernest John "EJ" Obiena’s Facebook post following his season-ending back-to-back gold medal feats.

Ernest John Obiena mission accomplished

He cleared 5.81 meters on his second attempt en route to bagging his sixth pole vault gold in his eight straight podium finish in the just-concluded season.

The Filipino pole vault star also broke the meet record of 5.70 meters, which Tim Lobinger registered 23 years ago.

He stunned Tokyo Olympics silver medalist and World No.2 Chris Nilsen of the United States copped the silver while Renaud Lavillenie of France settled for bronze. Both recorded identical 5.71ms, but the former bested the latter via countback.

The Asian record holder tried the 5.95m with the hope of establishing a new mark and erasing his 5.94m record that he registered in the Oregon Worlds in July but failed in his three attempts.

Obiena’s string of golden victories in the past three weeks included the Internationales Stabhochsprung-Meeting, True Athletes Classics in Leverkusen, Germany, St. Wendel City Jump in Sankt Wendel, Germany, and the Golden Fly Series in Liechtenstein.

In Liechtenstein, Obiena cleared 5.71m to outshine USA’s Olen Tray Oates and Austria’s Riccardo Klotz, who salvaged the silver and bronze, respectively. Oates made 5.61m while Klotz had 5.51m.

The Filipino also attempted to surpass his 5.94m Asian record in the event, held a year after he first broke the Asian record, but all three attempts came short. “I hope I gave you a good show but I wanted to jump a little bit higher,” said Obiena who also scored a huge upset win over Olympic gold medalist and world record holder Mondo Duplantis in the Diamond League Memorial van Damme in Brussels.

Senator sends congrats

Senator Christopher “Bong” Go, the chairman of the Committee on Sports, lauded Obiena anew for his back-to-back feats.

“Congratulations to our pole vaulter EJ Obiena – Ernest Obiena for snatching yet another gold. Tunay na nakakabilib ang iyong pagkapanalo lalo na at nakapagtala ka pa ng bagong record sa naturang kompetisyon. We are so proud of you! Mabuhay ka (Your win is really impressive especially since you set a new record in such a competition. We are so proud of you! Long live),” Go said.

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