Olympics: Pole-vaulter Obiena crashes out of medal race


Posted at Aug 03 2021 08:15 PM | Updated as of Aug 03 2021 11:55 PM

Olympics: Pole-vaulter Obiena crashes out of medal race 1
Philippines' Ernest John Obiena competes in the men's pole vault final during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo on August 3, 2021. Ben Stansall, AFP

(UPDATED) Ernest John Obiena crashed out of the race for an Olympics podium finish in the men's pole-vault final at the National Stadium in Tokyo on Tuesday night.

He ended up tied for 11th place with Bo Kanda Lita Baehre of Germany. 

World record holder Mondo Duplantis of Sweden topped the field by clearing 6.02m. He holds the men's pole vault record at 6.18m.

The US' Christopher Nielsen settled for silver at 5.97m, followed by Brazil's Thiago Braz, the erstwhile champion, at 5.87m.

Still, Obiena's finals appearance in the men's pole vault is the country's best for athletics in the Summer Games after many years. He was the lone Asian among 14 competitors in the finals.

Simeon Toribio won a bronze in high jump in the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics followed by another bronze by Miguel White in hurdles in the 1936 edition of the Olympics in Berlin.

"Thank you, EJ! You made it this far!" tweeted the Philippine Olympic Committee. 

The 25-year-old easily overcame 5.55 meters. Due to the wind conditions, he committed two fouls before clearing 5.70m. 

The Tondo-born vaulter was forced to abort two of his attempts at 5.80m and disputed with the officials regarding the launch area.

He was eventually allowed to make his third attempt, but still failed to get past the height. His personal best is 5.87m.

Prior to competing in Tokyo, Obiena captured the gold medal in the 2019 Asian Championships. He even topped 2016 Rio Olympics gold medalist Thiago Braz in the 2021 Taby Stavhoppsgala street pole vault tournament in Sweden.

With Obiena's exit from Tokyo, the Philippine contingent is down to 2 boxers -- Eumir Marcial and Carlo Paalam who are both in the semifinals -- and golfers Yuka Saso and Bianca Pagdanganan, who will begin play on Thursday morning.

Hidilyn Diaz won the country's first gold medal by topping her weight class in women's weightlifting, while Nesthy Petecio became the first Pinay boxer to win a silver in the Summer Games. 

Marcial and Paalam are assured of at least a bronze medal in their respective weight classes.


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