Riding the crest of a national record-breaking performance in Poland a couple of days ago, EJ Obiena sustained his fine form as he struck gold in the 2021 Taby Stav Gala Street Pole Vault competition in Sweden on Saturday (Manila time).
The 25-year-old Filipino, who is in the thick of preparations for the Tokyo Olympics, cleared 5.80 meters to establish his place atop the podium, defeating 2016 Rio Games gold medalist Thiago Braz of Brazil and Andrew Irwin of the United States.
Obiena secured the gold medal finish via a countback, as he registered both the 5.60m and the 5.80m on the first attempts. Braz and Irwin, on the other hand, needed second and third tries on their end.
Braz cleared 5.50m on the second attempt before completing 5.70m to settle for silver, while Irwin exhausted three tries to register 5.80m and complete the cast of podium finishers.
Obiena had broken the Philippine pole vault outdoor record with a 5.87m clearance in Poland last Thursday (Manila time). He tried to shatter the record in the Swedish meet with a 5.90m attempt, but failed in three tries.
Next up for the Filipino Olympian is the 2021 Wanda Diamond League on Sunday at the Stockholm Olympic Stadium.
Ohmer Bautista is a sports journalist who has covered local and international sporting events in the Philippines. The views expressed are his own.
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