Filipino pole vaulter EJ Obiena showcased his exceptional skills again by securing a remarkable silver medal at the Monaco leg of the Wanda Diamond League. The event occurred at the esteemed Stade Louis – II in Fontvieille, Monaco, on a scorching Saturday, July 22 (Philippine time), according to Manila time.
The rising star ranked second worldwide, soared 5.82 meters, impressively claiming the runner-up position behind the American pole vaulter Christopher Nilsen. Nilsen exhibited peak form, securing the coveted gold with a superb clearance of 5.92 meters.
The competition proved a tale of redemption for Nilsen, who had previously held second in the global rankings before being overtaken by Obiena. The bronze medal went to Australian Kurtis Marschall, who also cleared 5.82 meters, but due to a countback ruling, he landed in third place after two attempts at 5.72 meters compared to Obiena’s.
The event witnessed an unexpected turn of events as the world’s top-ranked pole vaulter, Sweden’s Armand ‘Mondo’ Duplantis, faltered and missed the podium entirely. Duplantis, known for effortlessly clearing heights of 6.0 meters, struggled on the day, only managing a clearance of 5.72 meters. He faced difficulties with heights of 5.82 and 5.92 meters, ultimately failing to clear the latter in two attempts.
Obiena and Duplantis made valiant attempts to soar over the elusive 6.02-meter mark, which would have marked a new personal best for the Filipino athlete. However, the bar remained undefeated despite their determination, resulting in a close yet unsuccessful battle.
Despite the near miss at 6.02 meters, Obiena’s exceptional performance in Monaco marked his ninth consecutive podium finish during the outdoor season. His remarkable streak commenced at the Cambodia Southeast Asian Games, where he clinched the gold with a 5.65-meter vault. Subsequently, Obiena secured a bronze medal at the Memorial Irena Szewinska in Bydgoszcz, Poland, clearing 5.72 meters on June 7.
Continuing his impressive run, the Filipino athlete established a new Asian standard of 6.0 meters at Bergen, seizing the gold. Following this achievement, he claimed a bronze medal at the Oslo Diamond League – Bislett Games in Norway with a 5.81-meter clearance on June 16. Obiena’s prowess extended to the Ostrava Golden Spike in the Czech Republic, where he secured another bronze with a height of 5.90 meters on June 28.
Subsequently, the determined vaulter aced 5.82 meters at the Bauhaus-Galan in Sweden on July 3, earning him a well-deserved silver and a qualification for the 2024 Paris Olympics. Obiena continued to impress with a silver medal at the Meeting International de Sotteville in France on July 8 before adding another gold to his name at the Asian Athletics Championships in Thailand on July 15.
EJ Obiena’s consistent podium finishes and remarkable performances have firmly established him as one of the world’s premier pole vaulters. With his determination and skill on full display, he continues to raise the bar for Philippine athletics and inspire a new generation of aspiring athletes.