In just one attempt, Tokyo Olympics-bound Ernest John “EJ” Obiena broke the Philippine national record again, winning the gold medal in the men’s pole vault action of the Internationales Stadionfest (ISTAF) competitions in Berlin, Germany.
With coach Vitaly Petrov guiding him, the 24-year-old Obiena cleared 5.80 meters, along with German Torben Blech when action ended at the Mercedes Benz Arena.
But, Blech settled for the silver after reaching the same height on his second try.
It was the second time in a week for Obiena to erase the national mark after doing it at 5.62 meters during the Karlsruhe indoor meet.
There was a bid for both to go for 5.87 meters, but Obiena and Blech were not able to do it on their three attempts.
Petrov’s presence helped Obiena refine his efforts to clear the height in just one big effort.
Another German, Oleg Zernikel, took the bronze at the height of 5.72 meters.
Three others, Robert Sobera, Piotr Lisek and Bo Baehre, took fourth, fifth and sixth places, respectively, by making it at 5.62.
Before executing his last attempt, Obiena also made clearances at the heights of 5.42, 5.52, 5.62 and 5.72.
Had Obiena not done it on his first bid, the gold medal could have gone to Blech.
And Obiena would have ended up with a silver at 5.62, a height he achieved on his second attempt.
Last week, Obiena was all by himself, and had no guidance from Petrov when he cleared a record-breaking 5.62 meters to finish fifth in the competition in the Karlsruhe Indoors.
The young Obiena began shattering the national mark internationally when he erased a previous national mark two years ago.
That was when Obiena made at attempt at 5.43 meters back in 2019 at the International Pole Vault Meeting in Potsdam, Germany.
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