Obiena bags bronze

With Olympic and world champion Armand Duplantis participating, EJ Obiena settled for third place in the Athletissima Lausanne Diamond League at La Pontaise Olympic Stadium Friday in Switzerland.

Coming off a first-place finish in Germany, Obiena registered 5.80 meters after two tries as he revs up for the all-important Diamond League final in Zurich early next month.

Duplantis put on another smashing showing by setting a meet record 6.10 meters while Chris Nilsen took second spot also with 5.80 meters which he registered in one attempt.

Sondre Guttormsen of Norway wound up fourth with 5.80 meters while Ben Broeders of Belgium emerged fifth with 5.70 meters.

Thiabut Collet of France placed sixth with 5.60 meters with Anthony Ammirati at seventh with 5.60 meters as well.

London Olympics gold medalist and France pole vaulter Renaud Lavillenie needed one attempt at 5.40 meters for eighth over his brother Valentin, who ended up at ninth despite a similar result.

Hometown bet Dominik Alberto needed three tries to get over 5.40 meters., leaving him dead last in the 10-man tourney.

Obiena, 26, who just recently got reinstated in the Philippine team, spent some time with kids at the Union Bank of Switzerland, before competing with the world’s finest pole vaulters.

“Athletissima never fails to amaze me. Yesterday (Thursday), I had the honor of teaching kids how to pole vault thru UBS Kids Cup and the day after, a fun competition along the port of Lausanne. Came out with a third-place finish and a 5.80 meters clearance,” said Obiena, who is in pursuit of a No. 2 spot in the World Athletics Rankings.

“Now we rest and head to the next one.”

Obiena next competes at the True Athletes Classics at the Stadion Manfort in Leverkusen, Germany on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. (Manila time).

In other developments, Alyssa Valdez serves as the inspiration of the national women’s volleyball team in the ongoing Asian Volleyball Confederation Cup for Women.

Jema Galanza said they are dedicating their inspired performance to Valdez, the Creamline skipper who failed to join the squad after contracting dengue.

The Nationals are delivering a strong performance.

After back-to-back setbacks, they booked a masterful four-set win over Iran before registering a 25-18, 25-13, 25-17 victory over South Korea on Thursday at the Philsports Arena.

With that, the Nationals finished third in Pool B heading into the quarterfinals.

The Philippines is facing Southeast Asian powerhouse Thailand in the quarterfinals at press time.

“One of our inspirations in playing was Ate Ly (Valdez), hoping that watching us play makes her stronger,” said Galanza, who fired 21 points to lead the Filipinas against a young Korean squad.
“Plus, it’s just great playing alongside the Creamline family.”

National coach Sherwin Meneses hopes the team will be able to beat Thailand, similar to what the men’s squad did when it shocked the Thais in the semifinals of the 30th Southeast Asian Games in 2019.

“Hopefully, we will be able to get a win over Thailand but we know how strong they are. But the ball is round. The men’s team managed to beat the Thais and hopefully the women’s team can do it too,” said Meneses, who was an assistant coach to the fabled national men’s squad.

“It’s a different feeling coaching the women’s team from the men’s team. I was an assistant coach in the men’s team while I’m the head coach in the women’s team. I’m happy I got to experience coaching both sides.”

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