Pole vaulting star EJ Obiena is a force that cannot be stopped.
As if breaking the national record for the third time this year wasn’t already enough, Obiena decided to seize gold at the 2021 Golden Roof Challenge in Innsbruck, Austria last Saturday (September 11), shattering the Asian pole vaulting record with a staggering height of 5.93 meters. The previous Asian record of 5.92 meters was held by Kazakhstan’s Igor Potapovich for over 23 years.
In a bid to continue his competitive streak, Obiena attempted to replicate his success the next day (Sunday, September 12) in the ISTAF Berlin meet in Germany. However, he was only able to clear 5.81 meters on his third attempt, settling for a fourth-place finish in the event, which was dominated by an all-American podium.
Two-time world champion Sam Kendricks bagged the competition’s gold while Tokyo Olympic silver medalist Chris Nilsen and fellow Olympian KC Lightfoot respectively took the silver and bronze medals.
Obiena’s feats in Austria and Germany come right after his performance at the Paris Diamond League. Prior to placing fourth in the event final last September 10 in Zurich, Switzerland, wherein he had cleared the 5.83-meter mark on his second attempt, Obiena had also previously posted a national record and personal best at 5.91 meters in August.
Since then, Obiena has improved his international ranking by placing among the world’s top five. With this win, Obiena is staking his claim as the best Asian pole vaulter in history. Although knowing his spirit, he won’t even settle for that.
We look forward to seeing the further heights this Chinoy will reach in the future.