Obiena wins German meet in absence of top gun Duplantis


WORLD No. 3 pole vaulter EJ Obiena ruled the True Athletics Classics in Leverkusen, Germany over the weekend in the absence of the world’s best — Swedish star Armand Duplantis.

The World Championship bronze medalist claimed the victory by clearing 5.81 meters and edging Dutchman Rutger Koppelaar and Australian Kurtis Marschall via countback as the Filipino champion did it in just two attempts against the latter pair’s three.

Mr. Koppelaar settled for the silver and Mr. Marschall the bronze.

Mr. Obiena went for a new national and Asian record of 5.95m but sputtered in three tries.

While the winning vault was far from Mr. Obiena’s personal best of 5.94m he registered in the worlds in Eugene, Oregan a month ago, it was enough though to seal the Southeast Asian Games gold medalist’s third podium finish that included another gold in the Jockgrim, Germany meet a week back.

Both of Mr. Obiena’s golden performances came minus Mr. Duplantis, the reigning Olympic and world champion and world record-holder.

A few days ago, Mr. Obiena had a bronze at the Athletissima in Lausanne, Switzerland, where Mr. Duplantis blew away the competition.

World No. 2 Chris Nilsen of the United States, who had a silver in Lausanne, also skipped the True Athletics Classics.

Mr. Obiena, however, said he was satisfied with his effort but could have done better.

“I am very happy to bring home the gold against a great field,” said Mr. Obiena. “But, on the other hand, I am frustrated by missing 5.95m again. We have boiled it down to some technical adaptations, which at these heights make the difference between a miss or a make.”

“Like anything in life, this is all about continual improvement,” he added.

Mr. Obiena will get another chance to breach 5.95m at St. Wendel City Jump this week in Germany and the Memorial van Damme on Friday in Brussels.

Also on his plate are the ISTAF 2022 on Sept. 4 in Berlin and the Golden Fly on Sept. 11 in Schaan, Liechtenstein. — Joey Villar

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