IN THE absence of the world’s top pole-vaulter Armand Duplantis, World Championship bronze medalist EJ Obiena was given the chance to best his next best rival — World No. 2 Chris Nilsen of the United States.
EJ Obiena, the World No. 3 and Asian record-holder did that with flying colors as he blew away the field that included Mr. Nilsen in the Stabhochsprung Meeting in Jockgrim, Germany yesterday.
The Southeast Asian Games gold winner vaulted to 5.81 meters to capture the mint ahead of Mr. Nilsen, the World and Olympic silver medalist who settled for the silver, and Australian Kurist Marschall and German Bo Kanda Luta Baehre, who shared the bronze — all winding up with identical 5.71m.
Mr. Obiena went for a new record of 5.95m but he failed in three attempts.
While the clearance was far from his career best 5.94m that he set in the world tilt in Eugene, Oregon last month, it was enough to secure Mr. Obiena a spot in next year’s World Championships in Hungary.
It was also a nice way to jumpstart Mr. Obiena’s campaign in the second part of the European circuit.
“Great start for the second part of the season. We got the gold and then hot the standard for next year’s World Champs in Hungary,” said Mr. Obiena.
Mr. Obiena will have six more competitions after Jockgrim including the Athletissima slated tomorrow in Lausanne, Switzerland and the True Athletics Classic set in Leverkusen, Germany Saturday.
His other events are St. Wendel City Jump in Germany on Aug. 31, the Memorial van Damme in Brussels, Belgium on Sept. 2, the ISTAF 2022 in Berlin, Germany on Sept. 4, and the Golden Fly in Schaan, Liechtenstein on Sept. 11. — Joey Villar