Obiena wins pole-vault gold in Czech Republic amid strong field


Posted at Sep 09 2020 03:11 AM | Updated as of Sep 09 2020 04:02 AM

EJ Obiena recorded a season-high 5.74 meters to win the 59th Ostrava Golden Spike competition in Czech Republic on Tuesday. 

Obiena, the reigning Southeast Asian Games champion, topped a field that included reigning Olympic champion Thiago Braz of Brazil, 2-time reigning world champion Sam Kendricks of the United States, 2013 world champion Raphael Holzdeppe of Germany, 2012 Olympic champion Renaud Lavillenie of France, and 2011 world champion Paweł Wojciechowski of Poland. 

Lavillenie took the silver while Kendricks, whose 5.93 meters in last year’s competition remains the meet record, settled for bronze at Městský stadion in Ostrava city.

Obiena’s mark at the competition, part of the 24-year-old’s preparations for the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, bested the 5.70 meters he registered at the Wanda Diamond League in Monaco in August. 

The Filipino vaulter was coming off a suspended stint at International Golden Roof Challenge in Innsbruck, Austria, which was halted midway through the contest because of bad weather. 

The Ostrava Golden Spike is part of the World Athletics Continental Tour Gold series. 

Obiena, the first Filipino to secure a spot at the Tokyo Games, got in with a national-record 5.81 meters at last year’s Olympic qualifiers. 

He tallied 5.45 meters when he won the 2019 Southeast Asian Games.

Obiena, who trains with Braz, currently resides in Italy where he is training for next year's Olympics.