ERNEST JOHN “EJ” OBIENA won once more at the Golden Fly Liechtenstein on Sunday to cap his European outdoor season campaign with five gold medals—one of them he pulled off over Olympic and world champion and world record holder Armand Duplantis.
The 26-year-old Asian men’s pole vault record holder cleared 5.71 meters in Schaan for his seventh straight podium finish in the European circuit where he also clinched one silver and one bronze—a major collection in a five-country campaign that took only 20 days starting last August 23.
American Olen Tray Oates and Austrian Ricardo Klotz completed the podium with jumps of 5.61 and 5.51 meters, respectively.
Obiena went for 6.0 meters, went over the bar, but clipped it on the way down.
“He cleared 6 meters in his third attempt, but just clipped it on the way down,” Obiena’s confidante Jim Lafferty said. “He did well, played this competition shrewdly by taking the win with marginal jumps then going for 6 meters.”
“Two of his three vaults at 6 meters were good attempts,” Lafferty said. “It’s just a matter of time.”
Ten days ago in Brussels, the world’s No. 3 Obiena made pole vault wonder Duplantis look human by winning gold at the Wanda Diamond League’s Memorial Van Damme, sending the Swiss to the silver and Chris Nilsen, the world No. 2 American, to the bronze.
Obiena registered 5.91 meters, three cms off his Asian record, in that battle among the world’s top three jumpers. Mondo managed 5.81 meters, way below his world record 6.12, and Nilsen settled for 5.71 meters.
He won his other gold medals at the Stabhochsprung Meeting Stadion in Jockgrim, Germany, True Athletes Classics Stadion Manfort in Leverkusen also in Germany and St. Wendel City Jump in Belgium.
Obiena clinched silver at the ISTAF in Berlin and bronze at the Wanda Diamond League in Lausanne.
“That’s a mind boggling consistent performance with zero rest,” Lafferty said.
Image credits: AP