EJ Obiena finishes 4th in 1st tourney amid PATAFA row

EJ Obiena remains as a championship contender despite his row with PATAFA. Reuters (file photo)
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA—EJ Obiena quickly flirted with a medal in his first event for 2022 amid all the distractions caused by his feud with the Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association.

Obiena finished fourth in the ISTAF Indoor Berlin men's pole vaulting tournament early Saturday (Philippine Time) at the Mercedes-Benz Arena in the said German city.

Obiena cleared 5.7 meters in his first try to take the tiebreaker over Bo Kanda Lita Baehre of Germany and Piotr Lisek of Poland, who also leaped past 5.7 but needed two attempts to do so.

Obiena, however, missed out on stepping onto the podium after failing to clear 5.81 meters, giving the host country a reason to celebrate as Olen Zernikel took the bronze by jumping past the said height in just one move.

This is Obiena's first tournament since PATAFA has officially taken him out of the national team due to their row.

[Related Story: 'CASE CLOSED | PATAFA formally cuts ties with EJ Obiena amid row]

Meanwhile, Mondo Duplantis once again showed why he remains the king of pole vaulting in the present age after ruling the event in record-setting fashion.

The Swedish Olympic champ defeated American rival KC Lightfoot by setting a new ISTAF Indoor record with 6.03 meters.

Duplantis broke the old record of 6.02 meters set by Renaud Lavillenie of France in 2015.

Duplantis tried to break the world record that he also owns, but he failed to clear 6.19 meters.

Lightfoot settled for the silver after only clearing 5.92.

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