Tokyo Olympics-bound Ernest John “EJ” Obiena competed against a talented field and still managed to pick up a share of the bronze medal in the men's pole vault meet of the Poznan Athletics Grand Prix 2020 Friday afternoon (Saturday in Manila) in Poland.
The 24-year-old Obiena kept his composure as he cleared the height at 5.52 meters on his second attempt.
His effort tied him with Matt Ludwig of the United States and local favorite Robert Sobera.
He was supposed to settle for a third-place finish when homegrown pick Piotr Lisek, the 2017 world championships silver medallist, vaulted up to 5.72m.
Sobera, who is the 2016 European champion, posted 5.52m on his first attempt, for the silver.
Obiena went for the height of 5.62, and the silver medal, but bungled his attempts.
“The competition has helped a lot. And I'm trying to focus,” said Obiena, adding that joining meets has kept him from becoming homesick.
He is seeking for slots in the Rome Diamond League on Sept. 17 and in the Doha Diamond League on Sept. 24.
“He was first, then somebody made a 5.72, and he was third. Gumaganu'n-ganu'n ang resulta sa dami ng talent. You can have 10 participants out there and anyone can win the gold,” noted Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association president Philip Ella Juico.
His bronze medal finish comes a week after a confident Obiena managed to record a season-best attempt of 5.74 meters to grab the gold in the 59th Ostrava Golden Spike competition in the Czech Repubic on Tuesday (Wednesday in Manila).