EJ Obiena jumps to No. 6 in world pole vault rankings

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 2) — Filipino athlete EJ Obiena emerged as one of the top pole vaulters in the world after he broke Asian and Philippine records in 2021.

The 26-year-old pole vault sensation occupies the sixth spot in the latest rankings released by World Athletics.

His new milestone came as he cleared 5.93 meters in last year's Golden Roof Challenge in Austria, beating the longstanding record of 5.92 meters held by Kazakhstan's Igor Potapovich since February 1998.

Obiena also smashed his 5.91-meter personal and national record following his silver medal finish at the 2021 Paris Diamond League.

The Philippine athlete was behind Armand "Mondo" Duplantis of Sweden, Americans Christopher Nilsen, Sam Kendricks and KC Lightfoot, and Renaud Lavillenie of France.

In December, the Philippine Olympic Committee said it no longer recognizes Philip Juico as president of the Philippine Athletics and Track and Field Association amid his controversial rift with Obiena.

It said it found that Juico made "malicious public accusations" against the Olympian, including falsifying liquidation reports on the salary of his Ukranian coach Vitaly Petrov, which the latter denied.

The committee also assured support for Obiena, who made history as the first-ever Filipino athlete to qualify for the Tokyo Games, in his future global competitions.

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