Filipino pole vault star Ernest John Obiena may have fallen below the expectations of fans in Europe.
But his 5.82-meter feat still gave him his second gold medal triumph in the European indoor athletics’ season when he took the top honors the Perche En Or indoor meet in Roubaix, France on Sunday.
Obiena, ranked No. 3 in the world, cleared 5.82 meters, a performance which was below the 6.02 meters of previous winners Renaud Lavillanie and Chris Nilsen in the first two seasons.
Fans were expecting that Obiena would at least breach six meters and even match the jumps of Lavillanie and Nilsen.
China’s Yao Jie settled for second (5.75m), while Ethan Cormont took third at 5.65m in the meet’s international men’s subgroup.
Former world no. 1 and currently unranked Sam Kendricks of the United States won over Obiena when they competed in the Internationales Springer-Meeting held in Cottbus, Germany on Wednesday.
Obiena settled for the silver at 5.77 meters on his first attempt, after committing errors in his bid to keep up with Kendricks at 5.82 meters during the German event.
The win in France was Obiena’s 20th medal since last year and his third podium this season.
Last week, Obiena ruled the 5-6 National Indoor Meeting in Padova, Italy when he won the gold medal with his jump of 5.56 meters.
Obiena has firmly held on to the no. 3 spot in the world rankings for the last 26 weeks, holding 1398 points.
Obiena is next preparing to participate in the Orlen Copernicus Cup in Torun, Poland on Feb. 8 and in the Meeting Hauts-de-France Pas-de-Calais in Lievin, France on Feb. 15.
These events have been calendared under the 2023 World Athletics Indoor Tour Gold, including the World Indoor Tour Madrid on Feb. 22.