By Heidi Nicodemus
CLEARING an amazing height of 5.93 meters, Filipino pole vaulter EJ Obiena would not be denied a date with history by setting new records en route to a gold-medal finish at the 2021 International Golden Roof Challenge in Innsbruck, Austria on Sunday (September 12).
Though he failed to shine in competing with the world’s best at the delayed 2020 Tokyo Olympics held just a month back, the Pinoy Olympian cleared a height short of just 0.07 meter to set new Philippine and Asian records.
The 25-year-old Obiena eclipsed his previous national record of 5.91 meters set in the Wanda Diamond League several weeks ago while also erasing the 23-year-old Asian record of 5.92 established by Igor Potapovich of Kazakhstan in 1998. Before securing the gold with a 5.80-meter clearance, he coasted through 5.60 and 5.70 meters and then capped it with the 5.93 finish as his closest rivals in the meet bowed out of contention at that point.
Matt Ludwig of the United States came in second after overcoming 5.60 meters while Ersu Sasma of Turkey settled for third place with an identical height clearance.