Obiena strikes anew

World championships bronze medalist EJ Obiena posted 5.81 meters to rule the True Athletes Classic late Sunday at the Manfortet Stadio in Leverkusen, Germany.

It was the third straight podium finish for the Filipino entry, who made his winning mark in his second try.

Rutgar Koppelaar of the Netherlands came in second with 5.81 meters after a countback while Australian Kurt Marschall finished third also with the same effort.

Hometown bet Bo Kanda Lita Baehre cleared 5.73 meters for fourth while Sondre Guttormsen of Norway cleared the same height but placed fifth via countback.

Norwegian bet Simen Guttormsen and German pole vaulter Oleg Zernikel never made it past the starting height of 5.43 meters while another German athlete in Torben Blech did not start.

World record holder Armand Duplantis of Sweden, Tokyo Olympics silver medalist Christopher Nilsen of the United States, 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics gold medalist and Obiena’s training partner Thiago Braz of Brazil, and 2012 London Summer Games champion Renaud Lavillenie of France were absent in the tournament.

Obiena said while he is happy with the win, he was frustrated he never got to reset the Asian pole vault record to 5.95 meters.

“I am very happy to bring home the gold against a great field. But on the other hand I am frustrated by missing 5.95 meters again. We have boiled it down to some technical adaptations, which at these heights makes the difference between a miss or a make. Like anything in life, this is all about continual improvement,” Obiena said.

Obiena is set to compete again at the St. Wendel City Jump on 1 September (Manila time) at St. Wendel, Germany.

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