KNOWING this would be his last attempt in his final competition in the second outdoor season of the year, Filipino pole-vault dynamo EJ Obiena courageously went for the one plateau he had a hard time breaching — six meters.
It wasn’t his night though.
But the World Championship bronze medalist came eerily close to eclipsing his Mount Everest of clearances if not for his right knee barely hitting the bar on the turn.
It was, however, a sign that he’s slowly but surely getting there.
The World No. 3 though didn’t go home empty-handed as he topped the Golden Fly in Schaan, Liechtenstein Sunday after he cleared 5.71m and bested American Olen Tray Oates (5.61m) and Austrian Riccardo Klotz (5.51m).
It was the Asian record-holder’s fifth gold medal and seventh straight podium in the past three weeks.
It included a memorable triumph in the Memorial Van Damme in Brussels, Belgium a week ago when he shocked for the first time Olympic and world champion and world record-holder Armand Duplantis of Sweden.
Interestingly, the recent effort came exactly a year when Mr. Obiena first broke the 29-year-old Asian record by vaulting ton 5.93m in the Golden Roof Challenge in Innsbruck, Austria a year ago.
He later smashed it with a 5.94m in the Worlds in Eugene, Oregan last July.
“Exactly one year ago today, I broke the 29-year-old Asian record in outdoor pole vault by jumping 5.93m. A lot has happened since then, and just a few hours ago, almost did 6m. As usual, we keep on trying and keep on fighting, for the country,” said Mr. Obiena. — Joey Villar