EJ Obiena climbs to No. 6 in pole vault world rankings

Published July 8, 2021, 12:58 PM

by Kristel Satumbaga-Villar

Photo from EJ Obiena’s Facebook page

EJ Obiena jumped to a career-high No. 6 in the pole vault world rankings ahead of his Tokyo Olympics campaign late this month.

Obiena climbed from No. 10 after successful campaigns in various international competitions where he reset his national outdoor record twice last June.

World record holder Armand Duplantis remains the best pole vaulter in the world followed by 2016 Rio Olympics bronze medalist Sam Kendricks of the United States, three-time world championships medalist Piotr Lisek of Poland, 2016 Rio Olympics silver winner and three-time world indoor champion Renaud Lavillenie of France, and United States champion Chris Nilsen.

Obiena said he would use this recent feat to keep pushing himself as he aims for a podium finish in the Olympics.

“Pursue your passion and prepare to work hard, real hard. Work continues but this fills me with inspiration and gratitude,” Obiena wrote on his Facebook page.

“The Olympics is very near and no one can predict the results, but rest assued that the fighting spirit is very much alive. We will proudly not just represent the Philippines, but fight for its glory.”

Obiena opened his outdoor season campaign with a golden performance at the Gothenburg Athletics Grand Prix in Germany last June 2 with 5.70m.

He followed it up a few days later with a 5.80m performance at the FBK Games in Hengelo, Netherlands to settle for the silver medal behind world record holder Armand Duplantis of Sweden.

Obiena, then, bolstered his Olympic preparations after eclipsing his 5.81m PH outdoor mark by clearing 5.85m for the old medal at the Jump and Fly meet in Mossingen, Germany last June 11.

From then on, Obiena has been clearing the bar at 5.80m and above including the True Athletes Classics in Leverkusen, Germany.

He surpassed his 5.85m national outdoor mark once again at the Irena Szewinska Memorial-Bydgoszcz Cup in Poland at the end of June by registering 5.87m for silver.

He ruled the Taby Stav Gala Street Pole Vault in Sweden with 5.80m to earn a spot at the prestigious Bauhaus-Galan Wanda Diamond League Meet early this month, and eventually finished fourth with 5.82m behind Duplantis, Kendricks and Lavillenie.

The said Diamond League Meet serves as a preview of the Olympics with all eight participants also seeing action in Tokyo.