EJ Obiena registered his best-ever performance, smashing his own national record with a new mark of 5.91 meters, en route to finishing second in the Paris leg of the 2021 Wanda Diamond League at the Stadium Charelty, Saturday.
The 25-year-old Olympian earlier set his then-personal best of 5.87 meters after winning the silver at the Irena Szewińska Memorial/Bydgoszcz Cup, just four centimeters short of USA’s Christopher Nilsen’s winning jump.
This time, however, Nilsen did not pursue a third attempt at 5.96 meters after seeing Obiena pass on the said height. The next height of 6.01 meters, nonetheless, was too soon for the reigning Asian champion to clear.
Obiena’s day was rousing as it was despite that last miss. He zoomed into the lead after clearing the 5.91 mark on his very first attempt, which left Nilsen and Sweden’s Armand Duplantis with the pressure of taking or leaving the said height.
Both passed to eventually set the battle at 5.96 meters, which consequently saw Obiena and Nilsen miss twice, with Duplantis as the only man with the said height. The Filipino passed on the final attempt, and the American retired altogether.
Duplantis eventually cleared 6.01, though all three attempts went begging at a new world record at 6.19 meters. He set the pace on the qualification standings for the final ahead of the last qualification leg in Brussels.
With the finish, Obiena zoomed to a fourth-place spot in the qualification standings with 16 points — just a point behind Nilsen’s marks. The American has now qualified along with Duplantis and reigning world champion Sam Kendricks.
Obiena thus looks to join the club as the aforementioned series leg is set for Friday, September 3, at the King Badouin Stadium, in a race to the finish for a place in the Diamond League final in the Stadion Letzigrund in Zurich on September 8 and 9.