Momentum halted for Obiena with fourth-place finish in Germany tourney

John Bryan Ulanday - Philstar.com
Momentum halted for Obiena with fourth-place finish in Germany tourney
The Philippines' Ernest John Obiena competes during the men's pole vault event at The Diamond League AG Memorial Van Damme athletics meeting at The King Baudouin Stadium in Brussels on September 3, 2021.
John Tys / AFP

MANILA, Philippines – EJ Obiena followed up his Asian record-setting performance with a fourth-place finish in the International Stadionfest (ISTAF) tiff in Berlin, Germany Monday.

The Filipino pole vault star was not able to sustain his historic leap of 5.93 meters in Austria, falling short in a 5.91m attempt to bow out of contention.

American KC Lightfoot also failed in a 5.91m try but he has cleared the previous 5.81m bar in just one attempt, compared to Obiena’s three, to snatch the bronze medal on a countback.

Fellow Americans Sam Kendricks and Christopher Nilsen both passed the 5.91m to win the gold and silver medal, respectively, for a podium sweep of the United States in the 11-man tiff.

Kendricks and Nilsen skipped 5.96m and went for 6.01m but both failed with the former claiming the title via countback.

Obiena on Saturday leapt for 5.93m at the 2021 International Golden Roof Challenge in Innsbruck, Austria to win the tourney and break the long-standing Asian record of Kazakhstan's Igor Potapovich (5.92m) set in France in 1992.

Weeks back, Obiena also copped two silver medals in Poland and France along with another fourth-place finish in the star-studded Diamond League finals in Switzerland that was won by Olympic champion Armand Duplantis.

Obiena’s steady rise catapulted him to world No. 5 in the recent men’s pole vault rankings.

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