EJ Obiena topped reigning Olympic gold medalist Thiago Braz of Brazil en route to a gold medal finish in the Gothenburg Athletics Grand Prix in Sweden Thursday while continuing to prepare for the Tokyo Olympics.
The Filipino pole vaulter opened his 2021 outdoor season by clearing 5.70 meters, to beat his training partner, Braz, who cleared 5.65 meters.
"A great start to the 2021 Outdoor season!" said Obiena in his social media post following the victory.
Norway's Pal Haugen Lillefosse finished with a bronze by clearing 5.60 meters, followed by Cole Wash of the United States.
Obiena will next compete on Sunday in Hengelo, Netherlands.
Obiena is one of the nine Filipino athletes competing in Tokyo, along with rower Cris Nievarez; weightlifter and 2016 Rio Olympics silver medalist Hidilyn Diaz; gymnast Carlos Yulo; boxers Eumir Marcial, Irish Magno, Carlo Paalam, and 2019 AIBA Women’s world champion Nesthy Petecio; and taekwondo jin Kurt Barbosa.