MANILA, Philippines -- Filipino pole-vaulter EJ Obiena finally reached the top of the podium at the 59th Ostrava Golden Spike competition in the Czech Republic, where he was up against some of the world's best.
Obiena recorded a season-high of 5.74 meters to seize the gold medal.
On Facebook, he expressed his gratitude for "the long awaited win."
"I offer this to Your given grace," said Obiena. "Truly grateful for the gold medal win at the 59th Ostrava Golden Spike Tournament held at the Czech Republic, against the world's bests in pole vault."
"Thank you, Philippines, truly proud to represent you," he added.
Among the pole-vaulters that Obiena bested were reigning Olympic champion Thiago Braz of Brazil, world champion Sam Kendricks of the United States, and former Olympic champion Renaud Lavillenie of France.
Obiena topped the 5.70 meters that he recorded at the Wanda Diamond League in Monaco last August, where he took the bronze.
He grabbed a silver medal in the virtual "Who is the Finest Pole Vaulter in the World," held in Italy.
The Czech Republic meet is still part of Obiena's preparation for next year's Tokyo Olympics.