EJ Obiena shares fifth place in star-studded Lievin meet

Published February 10, 2021, 1:05 PM

by Kristel Satumbaga-Villar

Philippine’s Ernest John Obiena reacts during the Pole Vault Men competition of the ISTAF INDOOR (Internationales Stadionfest) international athletics meeting on February 5, 2021 in Berlin. (Photo by Tobias SCHWARZ / POOL / AFP)

Olympic-bound pole vaulter EJ Obiena settled for a share of fifth place in the star-studded Meeting Hauts-de-France Pas-de Calais at the Arena Stade Couvert in Lievin early Wednesday (Tuesday night in France).

Obiena cleared 5.60 meters on his first attempt to share the placing with reigning Olympic champion Thiago Braz of Brazil in the 11-player field competition that saw current world record holder Armand Duplantis capturing the gold medal with 5.86m despite retiring with an injury.

Both Obiena and Braz attempted to clear 5.74m but failed.

Duplantis only vaulted twice, clearing 5.60m and 5.86m on his first attempt. He passed 5.74m and 5.80m, before retiring when the bar was raised at 5.92m.

Pan American champion Christopher Nilsen matched Duplantis’ 5.86m vault for second place, while 2012 Olympic champion Renaud Lavillenie of France came in third with 5.80m.

Poland’s Piotr Lisek, a 2017 world champion silver medalist, finished fourth with a season-best 5.74m.

The competition was so intense that the field started vaulting at 5.30m.

Other results saw France’s Valentin Lavillenie (5.60m), two-time world champion Sam Kendricks of the United States (5.60m), American Jacob Wooten (5.60m), France’s Ethan Cormont and USA’s Matt Ludwig.

This was Obiena’s fourth tournament after competing in three tilts in Germany where he erased his national indoor mark of 5.80m at the ISTAF Indoor in Berlin last week.