Obiena falters in Stockholm

Joey Villar - The Philippine Star
Obiena falters in Stockholm
EJ Obiena.
STAR / File

MANILA, Philippines — EJ Obiena wilted under the spotlight while battling the big guns and finished fifth in the Stockholm Diamond League dominated by the indomitable Armand Duplantis in Sweden yesterday.

The world No. 6 from the Philippines only managed 5.73 meters a few days after registering an impressive 5.92m in a triumph at the Taby Stavshoppsgala in Taby, Sweden.

The Southeast Asian Games gold medalist was so impressive in Taby that he came so close to shattering the Asian record of 5.93m he set at the Golden Roof Challenge in Innsbruck, Austria last year.

This time, Obiena was overcome by sheer talent in the eight-man field headed by Duplantis, who set a new world outdoor record of 6.16m.

Obiena couldn’t even clear 5.83m in three attempts. He failed to match his previous season-high of 5.85m in the L’Aquila leg of the European City of Sports tournament in Italy last May.

American Christopher Nilsen took the silver in 5.93m while 2016 Rio Olympics golden boy Thiago Braz of Brazil, whom Obiena beat in Taby, won the bronze with a similar 5.93m.

Norwegian Pal Haugen Lillefosse was fourth with a 5.83m.

Obiena, who had a bout with COVID-19 early two weeks ago, hopes to redeem himself in his next meet—the World Athletics Championships slated July 15-24 in Eugene, Oregon.


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