MANILA — Ernest John ‘EJ’ Obiena’s podium streak came to a halt in Zurich, marking the first time this year that he did not secure a top-three finish.
At the Letzigrund Stadium in Switzerland, Obiena, the Filipino pole vault sensation with a personal best of 6.0 meters, found himself at the bottom of the standings among a field of ten athletes. His clearance height in Zurich was 5.60 meters.
Initially, Obiena successfully vaulted over the 5.60-meter bar on his first attempt. However, when he raised the bar to 5.75 meters, he failed to clear it in two tries. In a final effort, he attempted 5.85 meters but was unsuccessful.
The reigning world No. 1 pole vaulter, Armand ‘Mondo’ Duplantis from Sweden, clinched the championship by clearing 6.0 meters. Duplantis made an ambitious attempt to break his own world record of 6.22 meters but fell short when he couldn’t clear the 6.23-meter bar after three tries.
American Sam Kendricks secured the silver medal with a 5.95-meter performance, while compatriot KC Lightfoot claimed the bronze with a 5.85-meter clearance.
Obiena’s impressive streak of 11 consecutive podium finishes was disrupted following his silver medal performance at the World Athletics Championships in Budapest, Hungary, where he equaled his personal best and Asian record of 6.0 meters, earning the Philippines its first-ever silver medal in the prestigious world event. (ai/mnm)