Pole vaulter EJ Obiena tops meet with 2016 Olympic champion

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 27) – With less than a month before the Tokyo Games, Filipino pole vault sensation EJ Obiena continues to impress in his warmup tournaments for a possible shot at an Olympic medal.

Obiena shared the True Athletes Classics title with training partner and 2016 Rio Olympics pole vault champion Thiago Braz of Brazil in a competition held on Sunday in Leverkusen, Germany.

The two pole vaulters training under famed Ukrainian mentor Vitaly Petrov both aced the 5.80-meter clearance in their second attempt. They both failed to clear the 5.90-meter mark.

German pole vaulter Bo Kanda Lita Baehre also cleared 5.80 meters, but only managed to pass the height in his third attempt to settle for a bronze medal finish.

Both Obiena and Braz comfortably passed the 5.50 and 5.60 meter marks in their first attempt.

The True Athletes Classics competition was Obiena's fourth tournament in over a month, as part of his preparations for the Tokyo Olympics, where he was the first Filipino athlete to qualify.

Obiena won two golds in the Folksam Grand Prix last June 3 and in the Jump & Fly International Athletics Meet last June 12, where he cleared 5.85 meters to set a new national record in outdoor pole vault. He also bagged a silver medal at the FBK Games last June 6.

The 24-year-old Filipino pole vault standout is slated to compete in the Irena Szewinska Memorial Cup in Poland on June 30 and the BAUHAUS-galan meet in Sweden on July 4 before the Tokyo Games.