In the strongest field for this young season, EJ Obiena showed fight for a possible Olympics medal later this year.
The 25-year-old pole vaulter registered a jump of 5.60 meters and finished in joint fifth during the Hauts-de-France Pas-de-Calais Athletic Meet in Lievin, France, Wednesday.
This is Obiena’s fourth straight indoor meet after three consecutive appearances in Germany, where he bagged two golds in the last two tournaments.
There were actually five jumpers who registered 5.60, but training partners Obiena and reigning Olympic champion Thiago Braz of Brazil separated themselves from the deadlock. They both tackled the said height and the previous height of 5.45 just on their first attempt.
World record holder and current world best Armand Duplantis of Sweden pocketed yet another gold after clearing 5.86 meters. Meanwhile, USA’s Christopher Nilsen and France’s Renaud Lavillenie missing on 5.92 did not force the issue of attempting the higher bar.
Nilsen, nonetheless, bagged the silver after his successful attempt of 5.86 meters. Lavillenie took the bronze with 5.80.
The rest of the field also includes Poland’s Piotr Lisek and Americans Sam Kendricks and Matt Ludwig.
These top vaulters started their ascent with the bar set at a whopping 5.30 meters.