Obiena targets historic pole vault medal

Joey Villar - Philstar.com
Obiena targets historic pole vault medal
EJ Obiena
STAR / File

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines has never won a medal in the history of the World Athletics Championships. On Friday (Saturday, Manila time), World No. 6 EJ Obiena will have a chance to end the long, excruciating drought.

The Asian men’s pole-vault record-holder seeks a date with destiny as he shoots for the country’s first podium finish in the biennial event slated in Eugene, Oregon in the United States.

But the road won’t be easy for Obiena as he will face a stellar cast headed by Tokyo Olympics gold medalist Armand Duplantis of Sweden, who soared to a season-best 6.16 meters in Stockholm late June or just a little off his magnificent world record of 6.20m.

Duplantis set the world mark last March in an indoor meet in Belgrade, Serbia.

"I've proved to myself and everyone else I'm in pretty good form," said the US-born and raised Duplantis in an AFP story. "It's been nice to come back home and relax before the big dance."

"I've done a lot to get here. I feel like I'm very hungry. I've done some pretty great things so far, but there are little things you can always improve,” he added.

While the Filipino Southeast Asian Games gold winner is seeking a medal, Duplantis is eyeing his first victory in the event after settling with just a silver behind American Sam Kendricks in Doha three years ago.

Interestingly, Kendricks is skipping the event due to injury.

Kendricks absence could specifically benefit Obiena as it would mean one less barrier to the latter’s historic World Championship medal aspiration.

And if Obiena’s stars would align on competition day on Friday, he could achieve what others before him could not.




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