Obiena earns bronze, sets season-best at Rome pole-vault tilt

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 18 2020 04:17 AM

EJ Obiena of the Philippines upped his season-best performance by registering 5.80 meters in the pole vault competition of the Rome stop of the Diamond League on Thursday.

Obiena, the reigning Southeast Asian Games champion who has qualified for the 2021 Tokyo Olympic Games, recorded 5.74 meters at a Czech Republic event on September 8.

Obiena was good enough for bronze, behind Ben Broeders of Belgium (silver) and Sweden's Armand Duplantis, who won gold. 

En route to capturing first place, Duplantis set a new pole-vault outdoor world record of 6.15 meters.

Duplantis who holds the world indoor record of 6.18 meters, bettered the mark of 6.14 meters achieved by Ukrainian great Sergey Bubka in July 1994 in Italy.

The 20-year-old succeeded on his second attempt at the end of a competition that he dominated in perfect warm and windless conditions in the Italian capital. 

After taking the world record from former Olympic champion Renaud Lavillenie this year, US-born Duplantis had made the outdoor record his goal, with the Olympic Games and European championships postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic. 

"I think I'm still up in the clouds right now," said the US-born athlete.

"You feel like you're dreaming a bit. It's a surreal, super crazy feeling. You hit the mat but you're still up in the clouds."

Duplantis set the world record indoors in February, and had made the outdoor mark his goal with the Olympic Games and European championships postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

"It was something I really wanted to do, there was a lot of confusion between the indoor and outdoor," said Duplantis. 

"I thought 'why not just do it?' be the best outdoor, to clear up the confusion." -- With a report from Agence France-Presse