EJ Obiena kicks off indoor bid in style

EJ Obiena attempts to upstage Armand Duplantis on home soil when they go mano-a-mano in the Mondo Classic in Stockholm, Sweden. Photo courtesy of EJ Obiena / Facebook

EJ Obiena kicked off his campaign in the indoor season in style as he grabbed the silver medal in the Internationales-Springer Meeting at the Lausitz-Arena in Cottbus, Germany Thursday morning (Manila time).

Obiena, the 27-year-old Tokyo Olympics veteran, cleared 5.77 meters on his first try to finish behind eventual champion Sam Kendricks of the United States, who posted 5.88 meters.

He tried to make an attempt at 5.82 meters for the gold medal but failed after three tries.

On the other hand, Ben Broeders of Belgium copped the bronze via countback after he and hometown bet Gillian Ladwig registered identical 5.72 meters.

Other finishers include Matt Ludwig of the United States, Rutger Koppelaar of Netherlands and Piotr Lisek of Poland, who posted identical 5.60 meters for joint fifth; Huang Bokai of China with 5.50 meters; Bo Kanda Lita Baehre of Germany with 5.40 meters and Oleksandr Onufriyev of Ukraine with 5.30 meters.

Still, it was a mission accomplished for Obiena as he is expected to further improve and shatter his personal best of 5.94 meters as he gears up for a handful of topnotch tournaments, including the Asian Indoor Athletics Championships from 10 to 12 February in Kazakhstan.

Aside from the Asian Indoor, Obiena faces a very busy year as he defends his titles in the 32nd Southeast Asian Games in Cambodia in May and the 19th Asian Games in China in September.

Also in the pipeline for the Filipino vaulter are the Init Indoor Meeting on Karlsruhe, Germany on Friday, the Orlen Copernicus Cup in Torun, Poland on 8 February and the Meeting Hauts-de-France Pas-de-Calais in Lievin, France on 15 February.

These tourneys have been calendared under the 2023 World Athletics Indoor Tour Gold, including the World Indoor Tour Madrid on 22 February.

He is coming off a very successful season highlighted by a bronze medal in the World Athletics Championships in Oregon, where he set a personal best and reset the Asian record of 5.94 meters to emerge as the first Asian to make it to the medal podium of the prestigious event.

All in all, he earned 17 medals with 12 golds, including a rare win over Olympic champion Armand Duplantis of Sweden in the Diamond League in Brussels.

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