It seems that every so often EJ Obiena appears on our feed with headlines for another medal. And now onto the second part of his season, he just won another one.
At the Internationales Stabhochsprung-Meeting in Germany last Tuesday, the Filipino pole vaulter cleared 5.81 meters to win the gold medal. As the first event of his upcoming seven-meet stretch, he’s certainly building momentum early.
Making the cut
In the meet in Germany, EJ Obiena went over his first three heights with ease—no surprise there. But when he bravely attempted to reset his Asian record by clearing 5.95 meters, he was unable to do so.
Regardless, his competition record of 5.81 meters still met the standard for next year’s World Athletics Championship in Hungary.
Obiena was also the only athlete in the competition to reach the World Championship standard of 5.81 meters. Second-placer Christopher Nilsen and third-placer Kurtis Marschall both made it to 5.71 meters. Nilsen finished with the silver as he cleared the height in two attempts.
Nilsen is ranked number two in the world just over Obiena who currently sits at third. Marschall is ranked 15th.
Against some of the best in the world, Obiena can certainly do more than simply hold his own. And with several events in the near future, especially with the Olympics in the foreseeable distance, every win counts.
Road to the Olympics
EJ Obiena’s run at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics was promising. He was able to make it to the final round of the pole vault tournament. However, he was unable to reach the podium and settled for 11th place.
Not bad for his maiden performance as an Olympian. Especially given his competition.
In the final round of the pole vault tournament, Obiena faced some of the best (it is the Olympics, after all). And although he was unable to reach the same standard at the time, he now seems more competitive even against his former competitors.
Last July, the Filipino pole vaulter won the bronze medal at the World Athletics Championships. In first place was Mondo Duplantis and in second place was Christopher Nilsen. In the 2020 Olympics, Duplantis and Nilsen also won gold and silver, respectively.
EJ’s bronze finish in the said event brought him a lot closer to the top two contenders in the sport. And with his recent gold medal win in Germany, he even surpassed the number-two pole vaulter in the world.
Although Duplantis did not compete at the Internationales Stabhochsprung-Meeting in Germany last Tuesday, EJ is still getting closer and closer to the top, where there was once a ten-place deficit between the two.
If we’re looking for signs that EJ may be set to secure a podium finish in the Olympics in 2024, his current run may be it.
Obiena will continue competing for the remainder of his season and training in Italy. He is set to compete in the Diamond League in Switzerland and the True Athletics Classics in Germany before the month ends. And every competition will bring him closer to the event he is surely eyeing: the 2024 Olympics.