Obiena breaches 6-meter mark, bags gold in Norway

Posted by watchmen
June 11, 2023
Posted in SPORTS
ERNEST JOHN OBIENA (Photo courtesy of Philippine Media Pool)
ERNEST JOHN OBIENA (Photo courtesy of Philippine Media Pool)


For the first time in his career, Filipino pole vaulter and former Tokyo Olympics athlete Ernest John “EJ” Obiena had breached the six-meter barrier.

The No. 3 ranked pole vaulter in the world achieved the feat when he took the gold medal in the Bergen Jump Challenge in Norway on Saturday evening, June 10 (Philippine time).

Obiena took the six-meter jump in one try to also surpass his own personal best and the Asian record of 5.94 meters, which he set at the World Championships last year in Eugene, Oregon.

The former University of Santo Tomas pole vaulter snagged the gold in Norway by defeating United States’ KC Lightfoot, who needed two attempts to clear six meters.

Sam Kendricks, also a pole vaulter from the US, completed the podium finishers as he ended the competition with a jump of 5.88 meters for a bronze medal.

After breaking the six-meter barrier, the 6-foot-2 Obiena still attempted to increase his personal best, but failed to clear on his three tries at the 6.06-meter mark.

He also became the 28th pole vaulter to clear at least six meters, along with reigning Olympic champion Mondo Duplantis of Sweden (6.22 m), 2016 Rio Olympics gold medalist Thiago Braz of Brazil (6.03 m), Lightfoot (6.07 m), and Kendricks (6.06 m).

This was the second outdoor tournament for Obiena since winning the gold medal at the 32nd Southeast Asian Games in Cambodia, as he ended with bronze at the 5th Irena Szewinska Memorial in Poland last week.

This latest achievement of Obiena will boost his confidence as he enters the qualification period for the Paris Summer Olympics 2024, which begins on July 1.

Obiena will aim to achieve the qualifying standard of 5.82 meters by participating in several tournaments, including the Asian Championships in Pattaya, Thailand; the World Championships in Budapest, Hungary; and the Asian Games in Hangzhou, China./ASC, WDJ

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