ERNEST JOHN “EJ” OBIENA won a gold medal at the Orlen Cup 2023 on Sunday in Poland for a fourth podium finish in a span of only 10 days in the young indoor season.
The world No. 3 Obiena cleared 5.77 meters, enough for the title in the competition held at the Atlas Arena in Lodz for another podium finish after his silver in Cottbus last January 26, gold in Roubaix last January 30 and bronze in Uppsala only last Friday.
“Happy to take the winning gold here today in Lodz, Poland at the Orlen Cup. It was a difficult battle, both physically and mentally,” Obiena posted on his Instagram account a few hours ago after his triumph. “Now we rest and recover for the Copernicus Cup on February 8.”
American Sam Kendricks, the world No. 28 who foiled Obiena’s gold medal bid at the Internationales Springer-Meeting in Cottbus, Germany, bagged the silver medal with a 5.70-meter effort. He went for 5.82 meters but failed thrice.
Poland’s Piotr Lisek also cleared 5.70 meters but was shoved to the bronze medal—he made the height one extra attempt to Kendricks.
Obiena faced off with 10 other pole vaulters in Lodz, including KC Lightfoot, who snatched silver at 5.91 mneters—behind world and Olympic champion Armand Duplantis—from Obiena at the Mondo Classic in Sweden via countback.
Lightfoot was nowhere near his elements and was unsuccessful in all his attempts in Lodz.
Obiena, who holds the Asian outdoor record of 5.94 meters, already announced that he’s skipping the Asian indoor championships next week in Astana because no airline could accommodate poles to and from the Kazakhstan capital.
The Copernicus Cup on Tuesday are set in Torun, Poland.