EJ Obiena Is Now World's Fifth Best Pole Vaulter

He recently broke the national record in pole vault.

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PHOTO BY Jerome Ascano/File Photo ILLUSTRATION War Espejo

(SPOT.ph) Filipino athlete EJ Obiena was one of the top contenders during the 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo after making it to the finals round of the pole vault event. He also impressed Filipinos with how he fought for his right to fair play on Day 11 of the world international sporting event. And on Thursday, September 2, he officially soared to fifth place in the world rankings of men's pole vault with a score of 1361, according to World Athletics.

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EJ Obiena succesfully cleared bars at the 5.55- and 5.7-meter heights at the Tokyo Olympics.
PHOTO BY Screencap/OneSports Live
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Obiena at the 2019 Southeast Asian Games
PHOTO BY Jerome Ascano/File Photo
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Obiena smashed his own record (and, ultimately, the national record) during the Paris leg of the 2021 Wanda Diamond League. The 25-year-old Olympian cleared 5.91 meters, beating his July record of 5.87 meters in Poland, where he moved from 10th to sixth in the world rankings. He finished second in the France meet, just behind Swedish athlete and world-record holder Armand Duplantis, who cleared 6.01 meters. Obiena also attempted to clear 6.01 meters himself and failed—knowing he can do it next time.

"An ordinary man guided by God's extraordinary grace. I may not meet the expectation of all, but I keep trying. Thank you for all the prayers and support. The journey continues and I am proud to carry the nation with me. Getting there," he said in a Facebook post on September 2.

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PHOTO BY Facebook/EJ Obiena

The record-breaking performance in Paris also warranted a P250,000 reward from the Philippine Sports Commission, which is mandated by law to provide cash incentives to "national athletes and other athletes who surpass Philippine record or ranking in any measurable international sports competition" through the National Athletes, Coaches, and Trainers Benefits and Incentives Act of 2001.

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