EJ Obiena secured the second spot in the 2023 Prefontaine Classic with a top jump of 5.82 meters on Monday morning (Philippine time) at the Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon, United States.
This venue holds special significance for the Paris-bound pole vaulter as it’s where he earned his first World Championship medal. He aimed to continue his winning streak after securing gold medals in the ISTAF Berlin and NetAachen Domspringen.
This meet also servrs as the Wanda Diamond League final.
Obiena got off to a strong start by effortlessly clearing 5.62 meters, placing him among the top three alongside Sweden’s Armand Duplantis and Australia’s Kurtis Marschall.
The 27-year-old Filipino athlete, along with Duplantis, opted to skip the 5.72-meter height. While the rest of the competitors struggled at that level, Obiena and Duplantis were left to vie for the Diamond Trophy.
Obiena needed a second attempt but eventually managed to clear 5.82 meters. However, despite three unsuccessful tries at 6.02 meters, which could have set a new Asian record, Duplantis emerged as the victor.
The Swedish World champion not only claimed the Diamond Trophy but also elevated his world record to 6.23 meters, surpassing his previous mark set in France in February of this year.
Obiena now aims to maintain this momentum next month at the Asian Games in Hangzhou. He will strive to secure an Asian Games gold medal and, in doing so, put an end to the Philippines’ three-decade-long medal drought in the sport at the quadrennial event.