MANILA — Ernest John “EJ” Obiena made one final jump for the year and won gold in the Gala Dei Castelli athletics competition in Bellinzona, Switzerland on Tuesday (Philippine Time).
Just when many thought the world number three pole vaulter is done for 2022 with the gold in the Golden Fly Series in Liechtenstein, he showed up in Bellinzona and won it all again, beating world number two Chris Nilsen and Renaud Lavillenie for the top prize.
Obiena cleared the bar up to 5.81 meters, a new record for the event, even as Nilsen and Lavillenie could only reach 5.71.
Unlike in Liechtenstein where he tried to jump six meters, Obiena took it a bit slow in resetting the Asian record for pole vault, attempting 5.95 meters, but he fouled in all of his three attempts.
Now that his season is officially over, Obiena thanked his supporters for their help in his successes this year, highlighted by his huge win over world number one Mondo Duplantis in the Wanda Diamond League earlier this month.
"Maraming salamat po sa lahat ng sumubaybay sa aking mga laban nitong mga nakaraang linggo, lalo na po sa mga kababayang pumunta at nanood sa aking laro (Thank you to all who followed my competitions these past weeks, especially to the Filipinos who watched my games live)," Obiena said.
Nilsen won in a countback to take the silver from Lavillenie, who settled for the bronze. (PNA)