The pole he was using felt stiff.
But a well-rested EJ Obiena managed to take off within 16 steps, clear 5.70 meters and claim the bronze medal against the world's best in the 2020 Monaco Diamond League on Friday (Saturday in the Philippines) in Monaco.
Using a technical approach helped the 24-year-old Obiena, who was 11 centimeters short of his personal best during the afternoon finals at the Stade Louis II in the Fontvieille district of Monaco.
The 6'2" Obiena was thankful of the result after he and Ben Broeders of Belgium both had clearances of 5.70 meters.
He used to a 16-step form in every attempt that Obiena made and this made him get a feel of his pole which felt rigid to his touch during the meet.
“Thankful siya sa pagkapanalo niya. So far, decent vault naman ang 5.70 meters para sa 16-step approach at mas nakakapa na niya 'yung galaw sa mas matigas na pole,” said EJ's dad Emerson following online talks with his son as soon as his event was done.
Broeders, who was 12th in the World Championships, where Obiena made it to 15th spot, settled for the silver when he did it in his first attempt.
The Tondo-born Obiena shrugged off a foul on his first try and got to that height on his second attempt.
It was Obiena's best effort for the season after he claimed the silver medal last week in the 13th Triveneto International Meeting in Trieste, Italy with a 5.45-meter showing.
After Obiena and Broeders missed their chances at the 5.80-m elevation, world record holder Armand Duplantis of Sweden emerged with the gold medal.
Duplantis, who claimed the world indoor record early this year at 6.18 meters, went on to clear 6 meters.
Italian Michel Stecchi was fourth after tying Obiena's training partner, defending Olympic champion Thiago Braz da Silva of Brazil at 5.5 meters.
Da Silva competed with Obiena last week in Trieste and also had 5.5 back then.
Obiena was 11 cms short of the 5.81 meters he did in Chiari, Italy in September. 2019.
To get Obiena more focused, his mom Jeannette said he and the family met online with him to watch comedy shows, which got him to relax before the meet.
"Sa panahon na ito, mas mahalaga ang relaxed siya at maayos ang makapagpahinga,” added Jeannette.