EJ Obiena resets PH pole vault record anew with runner-up finish in Paris

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 29) – Filipino pole vaulter EJ Obiena soared high to a new national record for a runner-up finish in the 2021 Paris Diamond League on early Sunday morning (Philippine time).

Obiena cleared 5.91 meters in just one attempt in the Paris tournament, which surpassed the 5.87 meters he recorded last month in winning the runner-up honors in the Szewinska Memorial/Bydgoszcz Cup in Poland. 

It is the third time this year that Obiena eclipsed the national outdoor pole vault record.

The Manila-born pole vaulter previously reset the record in June after clearing 5.85 meters to rule the Jump & Fly International Athletics Meet held in Mossingen, Germany. It beat the 5.81 meters he hurdled in a 2019 athletics meet in Italy, where he became the first Filipino athlete to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics. 

Obiena attempted to jump higher in the 5.97 and 6.01 meter marks, but failed to surpass those heights.

In the early part of the match, the 25-year-old Filipino pole vault sensation passed the 5.45-meter clearance in two tries while acing the 5.55, 5.65, and 5.73 meter marks in one attempt each.

Obiena was almost eliminated from a podium finish contention in clearing the 5.81-meter mark, but he hurdled it on his third and last attempt. This enabled him to aim for the new national record.

Tokyo Olympics gold medalist and world record holder Armand Duplantis of Sweden was at his usual form to win the gold in the competition after surpassing the 6.01-meter mark in one try, which beat the previous meet record of 6.00 made by Sam Kendricks of the United States.

American pole vaulter Christopher Nilsen, who bagged the Olympic silver medal in Tokyo, settled for third place in the Paris meet with 5.81.

CNN Philippines correspondent Pauline Verzosa contributed on this report.